Judge: 'Extremely Disturbed'

Judge: 'Extremely Disturbed'

Court rules that reversible error was made in Broadlands Regional Medical Center certificate of public need award.

A Richmond judge has ruled that Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Robert Stroube made an error in giving the green light to the Broadlands Regional Medical Center, but that the error is "reversible."

Circuit Court Judge Theodore Markow wrote in his decision that he was "extremely disturbed" by Stroube's "intentional failure" to disclose email correspondence regarding the Broadlands decision after the record was closed.

Stroube grants certificates of public need for all healthcare facilities in the state. He first ruled that the Broadlands Regional Medical Center, owned by Hospital Corporation of American, did not deserve a certificate. In 2004, he reversed that decision and granted the certificate.

Loudoun Healthcare Inc. has claimed a victory in the ruling. Spokesman Tony Raker said the hospital was "gratified by Judge Markow's formal recognition of serious questions surrounding the [certificate] award."

But Markow declined to rule on Loudoun Healthcare's more serious charge — that Stroube's change of heart was "arbitrary and capricious." In his decision, Markow said that a ruling on that charge was beyond his authority.

"We respectfully disagree," said Raker. He added that Loudoun Healthcare plans to appeal the decision.

BROADLANDS CEO Bryan Dearing was pleased with the results as well. "We are confident the administrative issue Judge Markow cited can be resolved," Dearing said in a statement. "Neither party was privy to the referenced correspondence and we are confident it will eventually be ruled as a harmless error."

Markow has requested that Loudoun Healthcare and Broadlands Regional Medical Center submit a suggested response to the court's findings.