January 14, 2003
DHS to Hold Additional Hearing on the Subject of the Site for York County Cancer Care Center
Augusta - The Bureau of Medical Services, the division of the Department of Human Services that administers the Certificate of Need (CON) program, has announced today that a public hearing will be held concerning the proposed site in the town of Wells for the York County Cancer Care Center which was submitted by the Southern Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Center.
The testimony at this hearing will be limited solely to the location of the Wells site of the proposed York County Cancer Care Center. The record with respect to all other issues related to the two CON applications was closed after the CON Advisory Committee held its hearing. In consideration of the fact that the record is closed, other than the issue of site location, questioning or testimony will not be permitted regarding other portions of the York County Cancer Care Center application or the York County Collaborative application.
The opportunity to request a hearing to address this issue was outlined in a letter from the Bureau of Medical Services and was received on Friday, January 10, 2003 by the two parties who have submitted proposals for the development of a comprehensive cancer care center in York County. Both projects for York County proposed locating the service in the town of Wells. The York County Collaborative, comprised of Wentworth Douglass Hospital, York Hospital and Goodall Hospital; and the York County Cancer Care Center comprised of Southern Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Center are the parties. The York County Collaborative has requested that DHS hold the hearing.
A public hearing will be scheduled in the town of Wells, tentatively during the week of January 20, 2003. Kevin W. Concannon, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services, who has been reviewing the public record on these proposals, will be issuing a decision in the weeks following this hearing.
The Certificate of Need (“CON”) Unit made its final recommendation regarding the competing radiation therapy CON applications to the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services (“Department”) on January 8, 2003. You should have received a copy of this recommendation earlier this week. The Commissioner is currently reviewing the informational record in this matter prior to making a decision regarding the CON applications.
As you know, on January 3, 2003, the CON Unit received confirmation from Southern Maine Medical Center/Maine Medical Center (“SMMC/MMC”) that SMMC/MMC has designated an new site for its facility. In its final recommendation, the CON Unit determined that the new site has no material effect upon the application under review and is not a new application. The CON Unit has the authority to make this determination under Chapter 13, Section 2 of the Maine Certificate of Need Procedures Manual (1998) (the “CON Manual”).
Chapter 13, Section 2 of the CON Manual sets forth certain procedural requirements. This letter explains how the Department will implement those requirements as related to SMMC/MMC’s new site.
First, the CON Unit presented its staff analysis of SMMC/MMC’s application in its final recommendation to the Commissioner dated January 8, 2003. You should have received a copy of its final recommendation. If you have not received it, please contact me and I will provide you with a copy immediately.
Second, upon request, the CON Unit will make the informational record, including copies of material relevant to SMMC/MMC’s application, available at its office to all registered affected and/or directly affected persons. Please contact me to arrange a mutually agreeable time for your review of the record. The record shall be available for review until the close of the public comment period, as discussed below.
Third, any registered affected and/or directly affected person has the right to request a public hearing on the alternate site. The subject matter of this hearing shall be limited to the new site of the proposed SMMC/MMC facility to the Alternate Site identified by SMMC/MMC on December 13, 2002, and further discussed in SMMC/MMC’s letter dated January 3, 2003. Questioning or testimony will not be permitted regarding any other portion of SMMC/MMC’s application or on any portion of the application of York Hospital/H.D. Goodall/Wentworth-Douglas (“York/Goodall/W-D”). If you wish to exercise the right to request a public hearing, please notify me and all registered affected and/or directly affected persons in writing no later than 12:00 noon on January 13, 2003. Facsimiles are an acceptable form of communication for this purpose.
If a public hearing is requested, such hearing shall be conducted in the Wells, Maine area. Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be published in the Kennebec Journal and in a newspaper of general circulation in the Wells area as soon as schedules are confirmed. A representative of the Department’s Office of Administrative Hearings shall chair the hearing and shall rule on the relevance of argument and evidence and make determinations as to reasonable questioning. At the hearing, any registered affected and/or directly affected person may conduct reasonable questioning of persons who make relevant factual allegations. Interested or affected persons may offer testimony. Any person shall have the right to be represented by counsel or to present oral or written arguments and evidence relevant to the matter that is the subject of the hearing. The Department shall record the hearing.
Fourth, during the first seven business days following the close of the public hearing, interested or affected persons may submit written comments concerning the matter that is the subject of the hearing; that is, concerning the new site of the proposed SMMC/MMC facility to the Alternate Site only. Comments will not be accepted if they relate to any other portion of SMMC/MMC’s application or any portion of York/Goodall/W-D’s application.
Fifth, if no public hearing is requested, comments will be accepted in writing, no later than 8:00am on January 21, 2003 (the first business day occurring 10 days after the submission of the CON Unit’s final recommendation to the Commissioner dated January 8, 2003). Comments should be addressed to:
Finally, please keep in mind that ex parte communications with the Department and/or the Commissioner are prohibited under the CON Act, 22 M.R.S.A. § 301, et seq., and the CON Manual. We will consider any communication, other than a permissible communication described herein, as an impermissible ex parte communications unless the communication meets the requirements of the CON Act and the CON Manual. Thank you.
cc: Commissioner Kevin Concannon Joe Kozak Esq. John Doyle, Esg. Jud Knox,York Hospital
 On a related note, representatives of the parties have recently contacted the Department and/or its representatives about making copies or transcriptions of audiotapes contained in the record. Because these documents are part of the informational record and must be kept in the CON Unit office to be made available to registered affected and/or directly affected persons, we cannot release them for copying or transcription at this time. We will have the tapes transcribed as soon as practicable and make those transcripts available to all registered affected and/or directly affected persons.