Phoebe Board to write P & G head - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe Board to write P & G head

September 7, 2006

Albany -- One of Albany's industrial leaders, who brought attention to the area's high medical charges, is now being targeted by Phoebe Putney hospital.

 Procter and Gamble's Vince Falcione has complained for months that South Georgia is losing business because medical costs here are among the highest in the nation. Now, Phoebe's board is demanding to see his medical data. 

Phoebe Board Member Gordon Stanley said "after repeated requests I have zero information." And so, Vince Falcione, president of the Coalition for Affordable and Competitive Healthcare, was removed from Phoebe's Board agenda.

Members said it's because he didn't provide Procter and Gamble's medical data 24 hours in advance and complained that they couldn't talk intelligently about the industry's health cost concerns without that medical data.

Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick said "We do need to bring this to a head." So Phoebe is sending a letter to Falcione's bosses. After a speech to the Sertoma Club Thursday, Falcione said he is not intimidated by Phoebe. CACH President Vince Falcione said "I have no concern about that whatsoever."

 In fact Falcione says Procter and Gamble assigned him to work on soaring Southwest Georgia health care costs. Falcione said "it is very clear this is my number one priority."

The Coalition found that in 2004 employees at Southwest Georgia's largest industries paid 14 hundred dollars a year more for health care than employees at their other locations. With that trend continuing, Falcione says they're looking for other places to get treatment.

 And Falcione says he and industrial leaders will continue to fight for more competition to lower health care costs. Falcione said "we write the checks every month, and we know what we spend. And we will do what we need to to control our health care costs."

 Falcione said he is on the next Hospital Authority's agenda, and that he will continue to offer to meet with the Hospital Board.

Vince Falcione says Procter and Gamble national representatives met with state leaders in Atlanta last week about Certificates of Need laws and competition in health care.

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