Battle over delivering babies in Albany continues - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Battle over delivering babies in Albany continues

By Cade Fowler - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The battle over babies will continue between Albany's two hospitals.

A judge says the state should not have given Palmyra Medical Center permission to start delivering babies.

Last year, the Department of Community Health granted a certificate of need to allow Palmyra to begin an obstetrics unit.  After losing an appeal, Phoebe Putney Hospital and Sumter Regional, which is now Phoebe Sumter, went to court.

Sumter County Superior Court Judge George Peagler spelled out four ways he says the Department of Community Health did not follow state law in the process.  He says the state ignored the adverse affect Palmyra's prenatal service would have on Phoebe Sumter's ability to recruit and retain doctors as it rebuilds from a tornado that destroyed the Americus hospital.

"It's a tremendous decision for the hospital and the community because it helps us as we go through the rebuilding process of the hospital after the devastating tornado in 2007," said Keith Peterson, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO.

Palmyra officials did not say if they would appeal the ruling.

They sent a statement saying, "It was clear the Judge was concerned about rebuilding Sumter Regional after the tornado. However, the Department of Community Health found and Palmyra believes that its Obstetrical Services program will not adversely affect Sumter's staffing or physician recruiting."

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