The New Jersey Department of Health recommended that the State Health Planning Board approve Inspira Health Network's proposal to build a $326 million replacement hospital for Inspira Medical Center-Woodbury.
At a meeting next week the planning board is scheduled to consider whether to grant a certificate of need to the proposed hospital in Harrison Township, according to an agenda released Thursday.
A 25-page report by department of health staff said the replacement hospital is "in the best interest of the patients in the hospital's service area and for the future provision of quality health care services by the hospital."
The move will result in a reduction in the number of licensed beds to 204 in Harrison Township from 305 in Woodbury, the report said. The report called that appropriate given a decline in the hospital's licensed-bed occupancy rate to 34 percent in 2015 from 46 percent in 2011.
The plan calls for Inspira to maintain a 24-hour satellite emergency department in Woodbury at the hospital's current site. After one year, Inspira may reduce the operation to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, if it can document low utilization during any eight-hour period.
Another condition of approval is that Inspira has to present a transportation plan "for those patients who are indigent or those who do not have the means for transportation services from the Inspira-Woodbury site to the replacement locations in Mullica Hill."