The Maryland Health Care Commission says Holy Cross Hospital must stop construction of its planned $202 million hospital in Germantown until at least May 31, a decision hospital officials say will cost them money.
The commission tabled Holy Cross' request to keep building without regulatory authority. Its certificate of need for the 93-bed facility, first granted by the commission in January 2011, was rescinded by Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Michel Pierson on appeal in February, two months after Holy Cross began site work.
In April, Holy Cross asked for permission to begin buying materials while the appeal plays out, in anticipation of beginning foundation construction June 1. Its lead construction manager said Holy Cross will lose between $666,000 and $1 million a month if it cannot begin foundation construction as scheduled on June 1.
The commissioners hope to render the request moot by acting quickly on the appeal. They delayed action until a May 31 meeting — by which time it hopes reconsider the underlying certificate of need, addressing procedural flaws that Pierson identified when he overruled the commission's original approval.
If the commission grants the final certificate of need on May 31, construction will proceed. If the commission cannot meet that timeline, it will reconsider the more recent request for permission to keep building. Under Maryland law, Holy Cross cannot spend any money on the facility without a certificate of need.
"We appreciate that the commission considered our request and they have set a target to get this process complete in response to our concerns, and that they have shown a willingness to revisit our request if they are unable to accomplish this by the target date," Holy Cross spokesman Yolanda Gaskins said. "Having said that, this delay will increase costs. We will do everything we can to mitigate the increase in costs."