WESTWOOD, NJ (CBSNewYork) - At the end of the day, New Jersey's health commissioner apparently agreed with the residents of northeastern Bergen County, approving the reopening of Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood.
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When the old Pascack Valley Hospital went into bankruptcy and closed in 2007, residents said it left a void and longer ambulance rides to other hospitals jeopardized lives.
The health commissioner has approved a plan for a new 128-bed for-profit hospital to be overseen by Hackensack University Medical Center and a partner from Texas. It could open as early as next year.
"There's no question about it. The need was there and I think the facts and the argument really supported itself," said Westwood mayor John Birkner, who tips his hat to the public.
"Rallies and letter writing campaigns. We collected well over 20,000 signatures," he said.
Over the past four years, there's been a real tussle over this plan. Valley and Englewood hospitals argued they could suffer financially. They might file legal challenges.
In the meantime, Gov. Chris Christie will hold a town hall meeting in Westwood tomorrow. During his campaign he went there and pledged his support for a new hospital.
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