Phoebe works to grasp future - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe works to grasp future

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Hospital hopes to create more jobs as it continues to grow.   The hospital may apply for a Certificate of Need to open a long-term acute care facility.   They're also looking at different uses for Palmyra Medical Center once Phoebe buys that facility. 

One option is turning it into a hospital for women and children.  Considering the purchase of Palmyra isn't even complete, certainly plans for the facility aren't ironed out, but Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick told city commissioners Tuesday some options that are on the table.

There's no question that Phoebe Putney is in expansion mode. "We are setting ourselves in motion to grasp the future," said CEO Joel Wernick.

Part of grasping the future is growing the future, like tiny little babies in an overcrowded Neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital.

Wernick said, "That part of our hospital is overwhelmed as far as the number of patients versus the space associated with it."

And there isn't much room for growth at the current facility which is why Wernick says one option for the Palmyra facility may be to convert it to a hospital for women and children. 

Subspecialties could also be brought in like pediatric oncology and Intensive Care, keeping more children close to home and their families for treatment.

Wernick said, "The growth of our organization has been by keeping people have who have been leaving this region and healthcare close to home is always the best healthcare."

There is also the consideration of a long-term acute care facility.  Another company had received certificate of need approval to put that clinic on the top floor of Palmyra, but that never happened, now Phoebe is picking up that cause.

Wernick said, "What we're doing right now is stirring the embers of that particular project that kind of died out and we're looking forward to seeing if we can't get that project back on the boards, get a C.O.N. for it and create a facility that's needed as well as the 200-300 jobs that will go along with it."

The application process could take nine months alone.  Design and build out would follow, but could be complete as soon as 18 months from now.

Of course, Phoebe staff, physicians, and board members will study the healthcare needs in our region before making any definitive decisions as to what will go where and if they will, in fact, apply for certificate of need approval for the long term acute care clinic.    

Phoebe already delayed the expected closing date of its Palmyra purchase twice as they try to work out complex legal questions.     Phoebe leaders are no longer publicly discussing an anticipated closing date.

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