BIDDEFORD (AP) – Leaders of two hospitals that won the right to build a cancer treatment center in York County say they’ve been told there will be a lawsuit over the state’s decision.

The Maine Medical Center in Portland and Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford said a lawsuit would only delay necessary care.

“The last time something like this happened, it took four years to resolve and who knows how much money,” said Wayne Clarke, spokesman for Maine Medical Center, who was referring to a similar dispute in Brunswick.

Maine Med and SMMC won state approval in February of a “Certificate of Need” to build the cancer center. A competing proposal was put forward by York Hospital, Goodall Hospital in Sanford and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H.

Peter Walsh, acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services, has declined a request by the smaller hospitals to reconsider the decision, setting the stage for a possible lawsuit.

SMMC President Ed McGeachey was told Wednesday by the chief executive officers of Goodall and Wentworth-Douglass hospitals that their boards had voted to join in a lawsuit, said SMMC spokeswoman Sue Hadiaris.

SMMC and Maine Med officials said they feel confident that a court would uphold the state’s decision in their favor.

“None of the lawsuits involving (certificates of need) have been successful, so it seems like a terrible waste of time and money,” Hadiaris said.

A spokeswoman for the smaller hospitals said all of the talk of a lawsuit may be premature because York Hospital had not yet agreed to a lawsuit.

“We have discussed options,” Dawn Grasso of York Hospital said Thursday, “but have not come to a decision.”



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