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Westwood Hospital's Approval Upheld by Appeals Court

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley is scheduled to open next year. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood had appealed the state's approval of the new Westwood hospital.

The former Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood is set to reopen as planned under new management next year after a court ruled in the hospital's favor Tuesday.

A three-judge panel decided that they would uphold the approval of Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley in Westwood.

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood had jointly appealed State Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd's decision to approve the new hospital at the site of the former Pascack Valley Hospital, which closed in 2007. The decision was "arbitrary and capricious," according to the appeal.  

The judges cited O'Dowd's expertise and rejected claims from the appealing hospitals that there had been procedural deficiencies and that the decision had been made "to appease voters." 

O'Dowd's decision "was well within the confines of the statutory and regulatory framework," the judges wrote.

Officials from the appealing hospitals have previously said they would suffer from "significant losses" if the Westwood hospital opened.

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley CEO Chad Melton said in a written statement Tuesday that he was pleased with the court's decision.

"Today’s decision reinforces the fact that the area residents need our services," Melton said.

Renovations to the hospital are about 70 percent complete and it is on schedule to open next June, according to Melton.

Englewood Hospital attorney James M. Hirschhorn said in a written statement the hospital was "reviewing the decision and considering its legal options."

"Englewood Hospital and Medical Center is disappointed that the court failed to recognize the lack of need for a new acute care hospital in Bergen County and ignored the real economic impact that it will have on existing hospitals in an already well-served and shrinking market," Hirschhorn said.

A Valley Hospital rep said they were also disappointed with the ruling and stil believe the additional hospital beds are not needed in the area.

Though it bears the HUMC name, the new Westwood hospital is a joint effort between them and LHP, a Texas-based company which specializes in hospital management. 

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