Christie Praises Hospital Approval at Westwood Meeting

The governor held a town hall meeting in Westwood Wednesday morning.

Governor Chris Christie praised State Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd's decision to approve the reopening of the former Pascack Valley Hospital during a town hall meeting in Westwood Wednesday.

O'Dowd to reopen the facility as Hackensack University Medical Center North at Pascack Valley in a letter to HUMC CEO and President Robert Garrett Monday. Christie said he expects the hospital will improve medical care for residents and bring more jobs back to the area.

"This is the right decision for the residents of the Pascack Valley," Christie said. "It's going to provide immediate increases in access to health care for everybody in this community."

The governor also praised the state and local officials who pushed for the hospital to reopen. The project has been supported by many residents in and around Westwood since Pascack Valley Hospital closed in 2007.

But the plan has drawn criticism from Valley Hospital and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. Officials from those facilities have said HUMC North could draw away their patients and cause them to have financial difficulties. Christie said he expects all the hospitals will be able to coexist.

"This should not be about petty rivalries," Christie said. "This should be about the people of this region who need to be served in the easiest and most accessible way."

The governor also used the opportunity to speak about his proposed tax cut to the capacity crowd at the

Christie has called for a 10 percent tax cut, which he said could save the state $1 billion over three years and make New Jersey more attractive to businesses. Christie said this would create more jobs and make the state more economically "competitive."

"Let's pass this income tax cut before June and start returning your money now," Christie said.

Christie also outlined some of his other proposed reforms while responding to residents' questions at the meeting. He said that bail bond procedures should be altered to be more like the federal system, which allows the judge to consider danger to the community and flight risk when setting bail.

In New Jersey, judges currently can only consider flight risk. According to Christie, when accused violent criminals are released, they are intimidating witnesses and making it more difficult to prosecute them.

"This is incredibly demoralizing to the police," Chirstie said.

Christie said he also favors treatment programs for nonviolent offenders who are addicted to drugs, which he said can amount to half the cost of keeping them in prison and lower recidivism rates.

"Drug addicition is a disease that can be treated, but if it's ignored, it wil kill, Christie said. "We lose as a society because of it."

Linda March 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Please don't mix your politics or dislike of Christie into this important issue. Sorry, but as one who spent way too much time in both Valley and Englewood with my elderly mother over the last few years....we NEED this hospital. Valley was a decent community hospital but certainly not the caliber of a HUMC. I saw first hand the decline in care at Valley after PVH closed. They could not handle the overflow and my mother and others suffered because of it. The Pascack Valley needs a top-rated acute care hospital. HUMC has a great reputation and I for one say it is about time the battle of the dollars ceases and HUMC North finally opens.
DMAB6395 March 04, 2012 at 06:43 PM
LivinLocal I should have been more clear by the "Jerk" I meant the Governor at the time that it was closed. I know that Christie worked to get it open. I don't care who help close it I'm just so glad that it's open. And the people there will be able to get medical attention that they deserve without having to drive an extra 10-15 mins. That time may not seem like a lot to people but when you are in emergency situation every second counts.
DMAB6395 March 04, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Jim Dunleavy-do you live in that area? Have you ever worked in that hospital? I have-I worked in the Admitting Department at PVH. I had to get beds for these people & let me tell you there were so many times that we had to hold patients in the emergency room because we were full and had no beds to put these poor sick people in. This hospital is needed. When you move into that area & have a heart attack or have a wife who's in labor & you have to drive another 10-15 mins to the nearest hospital because PVH is CLOSED anything can happen in that extra time. You could die from that heart attack. That baby can be born on the way in the ambulance, but who knows if that baby will have complications or your wife. Then you can come on here and say that this hospital is not needed. You have to see it from a medical point of view of these poor patients not from your so called healthcare provider point of view. Politicis has nothing to do with it. Politics did NOT cause the problems with PVH but POLITICS didn't help keep it open.
DMAB6395 March 04, 2012 at 06:58 PM
What does this have to do with PVH re-opening?
DMAB6395 March 27, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I think it's funny that Englewood & Valley are saying that they would lose money & have problems financially-they didn't have any problems when PVH was open to begin with. If the CEO (I will not mention his name) & the Board of Directors weren't so finically irresponsible PVH wouldn't have closed in the 1st place. Plus The Record didn't help any by saying that the hospital wasn't a good place to go. It was a great place to go as a patient & a great place to work.


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