About Englewood Hospital and Medical Center

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2009 Press Releases

Statement from Englewood Hospital regarding HUMC/Legacy Hospital Partners’ plan to reopen for-profit hospital in Westwood

At the June 8 State Health Planning Board hearing in Westwood, NJ, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center appreciated the opportunity to voice its opposition to the plan by Hackensack University Medical Center and Legacy Hospital Partners to reopen an acute-care hospital on the site of the now-defunct Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood. Our position was supported at the hearing by public officials and other community representatives.

The Englewood Hospital staff understands the emotions surrounding this issue on both sides. Many of our employees, volunteers, and physicians live in the communities of the Pascack Valley, which Englewood Hospital has served for nearly 120 years and continues to serve. However, the best way we can serve all the people of Bergen County, including those in the Pascack Valley area, is to support decisions that are based on sound public policy.

The opening of a new, for-profit hospital in Westwood would compromise the quality of healthcare for all residents of Bergen County. As opponents to the plan expressed during the hearing, multiple reports, including the state’s own Reinhardt Commission report, found that there is an oversupply of hospitals beds in the state and this oversupply is projected to get worse. The Reinhardt Commission report also found that this over-capacity is most pronounced in northeastern New Jersey—the area that includes Westwood.

There are already seven quality hospitals within a 15-mile radius of Westwood, including five excellent hospitals in Bergen County. These hospitals have capacity. On any given day in Bergen County, there are more than 300 beds open, staffed and available for use. There is not a need for another hospital in the county.

Opening a new, for-profit hospital is contrary to good public policy, especially at a time when New Jersey hospitals are struggling, with many hospitals having closed and many more on the verge of bankruptcy. A recent op-ed letter in The Record noted that “we can no longer afford the luxury of excess. Is this plan to reopen a hospital really a good opportunity or is it just another investor trying to create a market where one does not really exist?”

The answer is clear. Adding another hospital to an area that already has an oversupply of hospital beds would weaken other existing hospitals in the area. It would have a direct impact on Englewood Hospital, with a projected loss in inpatient and outpatient volume, resulting in a significant loss of revenue and elimination of union and nonunion jobs. This would force us to reduce the many valuable healthcare services our community have come to rely on, including the significant amount of charity care that we provide.

We cannot support the opening of a for-profit, acute-care hospital in an area that does not need another full-service institution. We support the recommendation of the Reinhardt Commission, which said the state should help facilitate the re-use of closed hospitals for other medical purposes. In other areas of the state, buildings of closed hospitals (including Barnert Hospital and Muhlenberg Hospital) are being developed into medical mall facilities, with space devoted to satellite Emergency Departments, medical offices, sleep labs, medical clinics, and urgent-care facilities. This is rational healthcare planning that meets the healthcare needs of the community, creates ratables for the town, and makes best use of the vacant property. We believe this is the best use for the PVH property. We are open to examining these opportunities further – in partnership with anyone who has a common interest.