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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's highest court is mulling whether the state's health agency can end a program that regulates the building or expansion of medical facilities.

The state Supreme Court is scheduled Thursday to hear arguments over the Certificate of Need program. It's an approvals process administered by the Department of Health and Environmental Control and required under state law for any medical facilities seeking to build or expand.

The program has been on hold since June, when Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed the $1.7 million needed to run it. Groups including the South Carolina Hospital Association sued, saying the state law requiring the review is still on the books and can't be suspended just because DHEC didn't set aside money to pay for it.

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