Phoebe Putney announces price cuts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe Putney announces price cuts

Posted: Updated:

Leaders at South Georgia's largest hospital say they are working to keep your health care costs down.

Phoebe Putney's Finance Committee approved a budget for next fiscal year that anticipates $1.18 Billion  in patient revenue.

While the hospital says they can't give us a bottom line number on their budget, they promise that the cost of some medical procedures will drop.

Not only is there no net price increase, some procedures have actually decreased in price as Phoebe Putney expects a substantial increase in business for next year.

Nationwide, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. But officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital say they're working to keep costs down, even cutting some prices.

"One price on P.E.T.-C.T., we actually lowered the price by 20% this year," says Joe Austin, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital COO

And they say those rate decreases will benefit the entire community.

"If we decrease the rate on a procedure, everyone who comes to our hospital winds up having the same decrease and so it impacts the ones that have insurance, as well as the ones that do not have insurance," says Austin.

Austin says he is proud to be apart of a hospital that can manage expenses with no price increase.

The hospital projects a seven percent increase in business as it treats more patients and conducts more procedures.

"We are doing that because as Phoebe system grows, we are creating a regional strategy and we are seeing more and more patients come to Albany," says Austin.

The budget also provides in excess of $200 million for investment in new equipment and facilities throughout the next four years.

One of the things highlighted is the digestive disease center being built on Meredyth Drive that should open in 18 months.

"As the population ages, that is one of the key things, the medical community will tell you, you need to have that screening procedure done," says Austin.

He says they will continue to carry on Phoebe's mission by making healthcare available to all.

"If you have a choice of hospitals, come to Phoebe and let us take care of you," says Austin.

And they begin doing that by trying to be fiscally conservative.

Almost $135 million is included in the budget to maintain funding for community benefit projects.

They also mentioned at the meeting that Phoebe Sumter is on schedule and under budget, planning to open December 17th.

The budget includes $195 million to buy Palmyra Medical Center.

Of course, that purchase is still up in the air.

The Federal Trade Commission is challenging the purchase claiming it will create a health care monopoly that will increase health care costs in south Georgia.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.