Would more competition slow PPMH hikes? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Would more competition slow PPMH hikes?

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 10, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A member of a watchdog group for healthcare in Albany, says Phoebe Putney Hospital increasing rates is only more evidence of a lack of competition for healthcare in Southwest Georgia.

John Crew is the President of Preferred Healthcare Consultants. He's also a member of CACHE--the Coalition for Affordable and Competitive Healthcare.

Wednesday, the Phoebe Putney Hospital Board voted to raise rates 4%. Crew says they have increased rates 18% in the past three years, and will continue to raise them so long as true competition doesn't exist.

He says exclusive contracts only add to their power. "They're saying to them, you can only come to me, and you will pay the prices that I say you pay, and in addition, no matter how good or poor job I do, all I've got to do is raise my rates to pass anything I do back on to you. That's a broke system. You won't see that system in any other community this size in this state."

Phoebe says it will only collect 1.3% of the increase in charges because the majority of patients either don't have insurance, or are on state plans that won't pay any more.

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