PORTLAND (AP) – Challengers of a state designation for a cancer treatment center in southern Maine await a ruling after making their arguments to the Maine supreme court.

Representatives of York and Wentworth-Douglas hospitals asked the justices Monday to void the designation, asserting they were victims of favoritism toward a rival.

The challengers said that state officials were biased in favor of Maine Medical Center and that their decision should be reversed.

“The department’s conduct in this competitive … process was the antithesis of fair government dealing,” York Hospital’s lawyer, Joseph Kozak, wrote in court documents. “The department gave favored treatment to one side in a contested matter. It repeatedly showed disrespect to the other side in this case.”

The state and Maine Medical Center denied that there was bias.

Assistant Attorney General Janine Massey said the state’s certificate of need determination had been arrived at fairly and was not influenced by staff level banter.

“Certain communications are just chatter, and should not be part of the record,” she said.

Noting that the communications were obviously between people who knew each other, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley asked: “How could a court determine if the … e-mails played any part whatsoever?”

Massey called the e-mails “unprofessional.”

The state evaluated proposals for a cancer treatment center in York County – one proposed by Maine Medical Center in Portland and Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford and the other by York, Wentworth-Douglas, in Dover, N.H., and Henrietta Goodall Hospital in Sanford.

In February 2003, then-Maine Human Services Commissioner Kevin Concannon ruled for the Maine Medical group.


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