Loudoun Healthcare Inc. has filed a new request with the state to add 33 beds while it appeals the rejection of its original request.
Virginia Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube ruled in March that "no public need exists for additional acute care beds" at Loudoun Hospital Center's Cornwall Street campus. "LHC has not demonstrated an institutional need for the proposed project," he said.
The hospital's appeal of Stroube's decision is expected to take several months, said spokeswoman Karen Ferguson. In the meantime, the hospital has resubmitted its original application in an attempt to emphasize the need for the beds, hospital officials said.
"By it getting denied once and us appealing the decision, then us applying again, that shows our continued commitment to the Leesburg campus," Ferguson said, referring to the 122-bed Cornwall emergency, psychiatric and long-term care facility in Leesburg. The hospital also runs a 133-bed facility in Lansdowne.
Before adding or expanding certain medical services, health care facilities in Virginia are required to obtain a certificate of public need from the state health department demonstrating that the offering is in the best interest of the surrounding community.
"By controlling the availability of beds and [expensive] machines, we can help hold down the cost of care," said Erik Bodin, director of the health department's division of certificate of public need. Bodin also said the process can improve care by concentrating services with doctors and providers who perform them most frequently.
Last year's application was considered alongside several competing applications, including one for the 164-bed Broadlands Regional Medical Center, which was approved for the community of Ashburn.
Megan Descutner, a spokeswoman for BRMC, which is scheduled to open in 2007, said the hospital does not object to the proposed expansion of Loudoun Hospital.
"We didn't oppose them last time, and we're not opposing them this time," Descutner said.
The nonprofit Loudoun Hospital continues to oppose the construction of the Broadlands facility, arguing that a second hospital would mean higher bills for residents because the two would compete for doctors, patients and other medical workers.
Nashville-based HCA Inc., the country's largest for-profit hospital chain, would build the Broadlands medical center. HCA officials said that Loudoun, the nation's fastest-growing county, needs more medical services and that patients would benefit from competition.
Loudoun Healthcare also is seeking permission from the health commissioner to open a cardiac catheterization lab in Lansdowne.
An informal hearing is expected to be held in Richmond within several months, Ferguson said. The meeting will be open to the public, but only hospital and state officials will be permitted to speak.