Questions over Phoebe expansion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Questions over Phoebe expansion

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August 3, 2005

Albany- Phoebe plans to build a second 30 million dollar medical tower. That project has some South Georgia doctors scratching their heads, including internist and Palmyra Medical Centers board member Dr. Joseph Stubbs.

"We'd be better off as a community if nothing else, instead of spending money on building buildings that aren't being occupied about reducing the cost of health care in this community," said Dr. Joseph Stubbs, Albany Internal Medicine.

He says, Phoebe would better serve the people of south Georgia by relieving the overcrowding in their E.R. and providing better patient care, but Phoebe claims this expansion will do just that.

"We've currently exceeded our space capacity in the current tower for that and as the cancer program here continues to grow and attract patients from farther and farther away the space is needed," said Dr. Doug Patten, Phoebe Chief Medical Officer.

Two floors of the new tower will serve cancer patients. Another floor will deal with social service needs, but a floor dedicated to more office space is what concerns critics who say Phoebe already offers too much office space.

"They have a building across from our office on Meredyth Drive that's not even half full and even the tower they have right now is not even full," said Stubbs.

"The building that Phoebe took occupancy of on Meredyth Drive is probably at 60 to 70 percent occupancy," said Patten.

Phoebe built the Meredyth building without getting the required certificate of need and only got that C.O.N. after the state threatened to shut down the building.

"As far as the Meredyth building, that certificate of need was granted in June of 04 and that was over a year ago, yes there were some problem with the application process but that was old news," said Patten.

The process is underway to complete the certificate of need for the newly proposed tower, something the hospital expects the state to grant.

"The state will make that determination on whether or not there is a demonstrative need. There's a process in place for that and we support that process," said Patten.

Phoebe will file for the Certificate of Need for this latest expansion proposal in the next 30 to 60 days.

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