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What's the latest?

May 14, 2004

Here are new developments in the proposal to move Washington County Hospital:

Q: What happened?

A: Hospital administrators decided Thursday to withdraw their application for a certificate of need to replace the hospital and build a new one.

Q: Why did they do that?

A: A number of reasons, but mainly because state officials wouldn't authorize the hospital's plan to finance construction at a site near Robinwood Medical Center.

Q: What will the hospital do next?

A: After meeting with state officials to clear up problems with the application, the hospital will submit a new application, possibly within the next few weeks. A decision on that application could come as early as September or October, said James Hamill, the president and corporate executive officer of the hospital's parent organization.

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Q: Will the hospital's decision mean a delay in building the new hospital?

A: Maybe, Hamill said. He said the plans already are about six months behind schedule, but if plans go right, construction can begin by fall.

Q: Will the hospital's decision mean an increase in costs to patients?

A: Maybe. To pay for the construction, the hospital will have to raise patient charges.

To comply with current state policy, the hospital will submit a plan to raise patient rates about 6 percent at the end of construction.

If the state accepts the hospital's request to change its policy on paying for financing construction, the hospital plans to raise rates about 3 percent at the beginning of construction and another 2 percent at the end of construction.

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