It was the beginning of a new era — or the resumption of one that’s been on pause for years — today when Gov. Chris Christie attended the reopening of Pascack Valley Hospital, in Westwood, which closed in 2007 after running into financial problems.
The hospital has reopened as Hackensack University Medical Center–North, a joint operation of Hackensack University Health Network and the for-profit LHP Hospital Group, of Plano, Texas.
The $148 million reopening had long been opposed by other Bergen County hospitals, including Valley Hospital and Englewood Medical Center, which said the region was overbedded. The Health Department ultimately sided with Hackensack and LHP.
LHP executive Chad Melton will serve as CEO of the new hospital, which will begin accepting patients June 1. HUMC–North has 128 beds, all in private rooms, and expects to have about 500 employees by the end of the year. As a for-profit hospital, the facility will pay more than $1 million a year in property taxes, it said.
In a previous interview with NJBIZ, Hackensack CEO Robert Garrett said LHP’s involvement was critical for both Pascack and Mountainside Hospital, in Montclair, where the two entities also partnered.
LHP put up the majority of the capital for both Pascack Valley and Mountainside “which preserves capital back at our flagship hospital to develop services and programs back there,” Garrett said earlier this month. “We have the best of both worlds: we can expand our network by acquiring hospitals with the help of a partner, and at the end of the day we are still very involved with the governance of those hospitals.”
Also in attendance were Assembly Democrats Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace, as well as Westwood Mayor John Birkner.