11th Circuit Court hears Phoebe's case - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

11th Circuit Court hears Phoebe's case

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Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital issued a statement Wednesday, saying that their attorney had stated Phoebe's case to the federal court.

Phoebe is fighting the Federal Trade Commission's opposition to the take over of Palmyra Medical center by PPMH.

In July, the FTC's Bureau of Competition Director said "The proposed transaction - which will lead to a monopoly in the Albany, Georgia area - will result in higher health care costs for local patients and should not be immune to federal antitrust scrutiny."

Here is a news release from Phoebe Putney-

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals today heard arguments in the FTC's appeal of a federal court ruling allowing the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County to purchase Palmyra Medical Center.

The FTC appealed a ruling by Federal Judge Louis Sands in June dismissing the agency's claim of jurisdiction over the agreement between the Authority and HCA, owners of Palmyra Medical Center.  

Thomas Chambless, general counsel for Phoebe, said the organization maintains its position on the Authority's right to buy Palmyra without federal intervention. Briefs presented to the court last month focused on the Authority's right to enter into a purchase agreement with HCA.

"For a Georgia hospital authority, acquiring and leasing a hospital is as much an act of governing as is passing an ordinance for a Georgia city council.  In both cases, political subdivisions are exercising some delegated component of the total governing powers of the State, said Chambless. "We have argued that point and we are hopeful the 11th Circuit's ruling will be consistent with similar ones it has made in the past, which make it clear that this transaction is beyond the FTC's jurisdiction."

The Authority last December announced the agreement with HCA to buy the Albany hospital and consolidate healthcare delivery services.  Hospital officials say the proposed consolidation is the best approach to meet new federal mandates in healthcare delivery policies and will improve access to quality care in southwest Georgia.