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Hospital Sues County

Northern Virginia Community Hospital, LLC and Women's Hospital Indianapolis, L.P. filed suit in Circuit Court against the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Aug. 30, on behalf of the Broadlands Regional Medical Center, which had been denied the special exception it needed to build the new hospital in the Broadlands area by a 6-3 vote from the Board of Supervisors Aug. 1. Board Chairman Scott York (I-At Large), Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) and Sally Kurtz (I-Catoctin) voted in favor of the hospital.

The hospital was to have been built at 42700 Broadlands Blvd. in Ashburn and to have had 164 beds, 40 of which were to be dedicated to child and adolescent mental-health patients. It would employ about 500 people.

The complaint alleges that the board took illegal action in denying the hospital, since the state commissioner of health had issued a certificate of public need for the facility, a necessary step prior to opening a new hospital.

By denying the application, the board has overstepped its bounds in rejecting the opinion of a state agency, according to the suit.

The complaint alleges that the board acted at the prompting of Loudoun Healthcare Inc. (LHI) and its parent company, Inova Health System, which already operates a hospital in the county. The complaint goes so far as to say that the board was doing what they were told by LHI. "The actions of the Board É are part of a multi-year strategy by the Board, executed at the direction of and with support from LHI and its now parent company Inova."

Further on, the complaint alleges that parts of the decisions made by both the board and the county Planning Commission were scripted by LHI. "The Planning Commission adopted a list of findings, believed to have been drafted by third parties affiliated with LHI, citing concerns with traffic and noise issues."

"It's time not to pull any punches," said Megan Descutner, a spokesperson for Broadlands. "We took the high road and we wound up taking the road to nowhere."

The complaint alleges that the board used its powers of planning and zoning to effectively negate the decision made by the commissioner.

The suit asks the court to set aside the board's decision and allow the hospital to be built.

Residents living in the area around the proposed hospital site had also cited concerns about noise and traffic. Additionally, some had said that they had bought homes in a residential area with land zoned for an office complex, not a hospital.

Inova, which operates the 155-bed Lansdowne hospital had also been opposed to the new facility, which they said is too close to theirs.

Supporters of the hospital noted that 51 percent of county residents received health care outside of the county. While the existing hospital has been the sole provider of health care for a century, explosive recent growth in the county's population has created a need for another facility, they say.

The board has 21 days to reply to the suit before a trial date is set. The Loudoun County Office of the County Attorney did not return the Connection's calls for comment.