LewisGale Medical Center is still trying to open a neonatal intensive care unit, a process so lengthy that a child born at the Salem hospital when it began would now be turning 3.
In a petition filed in Salem Circuit Court, the hospital is appealing a decision by the state health commissioner, who determined in April that there was no public need for the unit. A previous commissioner reached a similar decision in 2011.
The application process began in June 2010, when LewisGale announced plans for an intensive care unit that could treat up to eight seriously ill or prematurely born infants.
Such a project would needlessly duplicate existing services in the region, including a 60-bed NICU at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, health commissioner Dr. Cynthia Romero recently determined.
“We continue to be disappointed in the commissioner’s decision and are committed to taking the appropriate steps that are in the best interest of our patients,” LewisGale spokeswomen Nancy May said Tuesday.