About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Hospital awaits judge’s ruling

Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center will know in a few days if it can compete with Mary WashingtonHospital road work Hospital to build a new cancer service. Richmond Circuit Court Judge Melvin Hughes said this morning that he needed time to go through the paperwork before deciding on Spotsylvania Regional’s appeal.

The new hospital is appealing a decision by the Virginia Health Department that its application for a new cancer service was too late to be considered with a similar application from Mary Washington. Rather, the state told Spotsylvania Regional that its application would be considered next year.

Duncan Getchell, attorney for Spotsylvania Regional, told the judge today that the new hospital had been monitoring what Mary Washington was doing so it could compete with it. Mary Washington filed a cancer center application with the state in April, but its action “slipped by us,” Getchell said. When Spotsylvania Regional recovered and tried to file an application of its own, it was one day late, Getchell said.

Spotsylvania Regional asked the state to waive the filing deadline, but the state said no. So Spotsylvania Regional went to court.

Meanwhile, Mary Washington’s application for a cancer center on the hospital property has encountered rough sailing. A Health Department analyst said Friday that it is unneeded, and he recommended that it be rejected.

If the state health commissioner agrees, it would make Spotsylvania Regional’s appeal moot. Both companies would then be on equal footing again. If they wanted to expand cancer services in the region, they’d have to file new applications next year.

Mary Washington operates the area’s only cancer center, the Cancer Center of Virginia on State Route 3. Cancer patients receive radiation treatments there.

Look for a story about the court hearing in tomorrow’s paper.

A prior posting on this issue is here.

(Spotsylvania Parkway, above, is being extended across Interstate 95 to serve as the entrance to the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.)