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No deadline on hospital submission

August 10, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

The top administrator of the organization that owns Washington County Hospital said on Monday that he wants to avoid setting deadlines for his staff to submit paperwork that needs state approval before construction can begin on a new hospital.

The necessary paperwork is a revised application for a certificate of need to build a new hospital that would replace the current one at East Antietam Street. The state agency that will consider the paperwork is the Maryland Health Care Commission.

One item up for approval in the application is the health system's plan to pay for its proposed $175 million project near Robinwood Drive. Without approval, the hospital cannot raise patient rates, a step officials have said is necessary to pay for the project.

James Hamill, the health system's president and CEO, was asked on Monday if his organization would submit the paperwork this week. Hamill said through a spokeswoman on July 29 that the paperwork would be submitted within 10 to 14 days, or sometime this week.

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Hamill on Monday did not rule out a submission this week, but would not say that would happen.

"We're just not (going to) pin a day down," Hamill said. "It could be this week. It could be sometime after that."

The health system submitted an application for a certificate of need in June 2003. But in May, after the official in charge of the review process hinted that the certificate of need would not be granted, health system officials pulled the application.

Hamill said in May the revision might take as little as two weeks.

On July 29, health system spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said new issues surfaced during ongoing negotiations with the City of Hagerstown. Neither the health system nor city officials would elaborate on the issues. Hamill declined to elaborate Monday.

Hamill said, however, that health system officials were hoping to come to terms on the new sticking points before submitting the revised paperwork.

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