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Hospital plan submission delayed

July 22, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

It will now be past the weekend before revised plans for a new Washington County Hospital will be submitted for review by state health care officials, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Washington County Health System, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates Washington County Hospital, wishes to move the hospital from its East Antietam Street location to a site near Robinwood Drive.

Health system spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said the plans likely would be submitted Monday to the Maryland Health Care Commission. The commission must approve the plans before construction can begin.

Believing their plans would be rejected by the state commission, Washington County Health System officials withdrew the plans May 14.

James Hamill, the health system's president and chief executive officer, said that day he believed it could be as little as two weeks before the revised plans were resubmitted. After encountering some delays, official revised their schedules to submit the plans Friday.

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But because Hamill must sign the documents, Theriault said, the submission to the Maryland Health Care Commission must wait until Monday because he will be on vacation today and Friday.

One group awaiting the submission is the Hagerstown City Council and Mayor William M. Breichner. City officials approved hiring legal and health care consultants to dispute claims made by hospital officials last year in their original submission.

The city spent nearly $300,000 on the consulting fees related to the dispute.

A third group has tied itself to the hospital in recent weeks in support of the hospital and its submission.

That group, the Hagerstown-Washington County Community Healthcare Coalition, has garnered written support from the Washington County Delegation to the General Assembly, local unions and business groups.

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