Phoebe Putney Hospital continues to fight competition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe Putney Hospital continues to fight competition

September 6, 2006

Albany --    The hospital authority voted today to oppose Hospital Corporation of America- Palmyra's proposed Surgery Center in Lee County.   

Palmyra Medical Center's parent company filed an application to the Department of Community Health July 11th to build an ambulatory surgery center in Lee County. Under State Certificate of Need laws, Phoebe is granted a monopoly on operating rooms.   

Phoebe's board says there are nine excess surgery center operating rooms in the area already, and any more would hurt their ability to care for the patients who can't pay.    "Continuing to expand a delivery system that already has an excess capacity does not help to fulfill the needs of the citizens of this region," said Phoebe Executive Vice President Jim Hobson.    

Palmyra Medical Centers President Bud Wethington said they expected Phoebe to oppose their proposed surgical center. "We know what our business plan is, which is to help deliver a product to this community that has never been delivered to this community before."   

Wethington says he's still confident his hospital's surgical center will be approved by the state.

Phoebe also plans to buy an imaging company so they can open an MRI Center the state denied them two years ago. Phoebe's board approved the purchase of MRI and Imaging of Georgia, a private diagnostic center on Meredyth Drive.

Two years ago, Phoebe opened an MRI center on Meredyth, but the Department of Community Health shut them down because they did not receive permission or proper licensing.

Phoebe says they hope to solve access and capacity challenges by buying the private diagnostic center and their Certificate of Need approval. The center currently does more than five thousand MRI's a year.

Phoebe said they anticipate getting Certificate of Need approval to take over the private operation by October and continue running it. 

The board spokesperson said they will pay between four to four and a half million dollars for the MRI and Imaging Center.

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