COLUMBIA - Attorneys representing South Carolina's hospitals say a program regulating the building or expansion of medical facilities was not negated when Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed its funding.

Mitch Brown told the state Supreme Court on Thursday that the Department of Health and Environmental Control should find other ways to fund the Certificate of Need program.

DHEC administers the program required under state law for medical facilities seeking to build or expand. It's been on hold since June, when Haley vetoed the nearly $2 million needed to run it.

Hospitals sued, saying state law still requires the review.

DHEC's attorneys said Thursday the agency had no choice but the halt the program when its funding disappeared. Jim Richardson said DHEC can restart the process if it's funded by the Legislature.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP