Phoebe North Surgical Center to close - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe North Surgical Center to close

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Less than one month after Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital reached a settlement with the federal government, future plans for the Phoebe North campus were announced Wednesday.

Administrators said in a release that they will begin moving surgical cases, equipment, and supplies on the North campus to the main campus.

The hospital said it would work closely with the employees impacted by the consolidation, and said some staff relocation would be part of the transition.

Phoebe Putney sent this news release Wednesday:

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital began today taking steps toward best use of its north campus facility, focusing on delivering the most efficient, effective, high quality care.

Healthcare delivery has changed and the needs of our community have changed over the past five years since the acquisition of the north campus previously known as HCA Palmyra. Inpatient utilization has fallen, not just at Phoebe, but throughout all hospitals. Growth of outpatient and homecare alternatives are replacing institutionally based services. High-deductible health insurance has made consumers demand more accessible and affordable alternatives. Phoebe must both embrace and excel in assuring both high quality and affordability. "Our plans must take into account these two sides of the same coin," said Joel Wernick, President/CEO.

"We have a team already at work evaluating what works best and most efficiently on both north and main campuses. The reality of a state where Medicaid has not expanded forces us to assure we extract maximum value from the facilities on both campuses. This process is occurring at all hospitals across the country. Where expansion is warranted, we will expand. Where moving services is warranted, we will move services. Where costly duplication occurs, we will seek to minimize. All decisions will focus on what is in the best interest of our patients' care and what brings the greatest value to our community – meeting both current and future need," Wernick explained.

One clear, immediate opportunity will address avoiding unnecessary duplication of services at campuses located less than five minutes apart. When assessing logistics, efficiencies and deployment of resources, surgical services -- a specialized area with many ancillary needs and a continuous focus on process and facility improvements -- is a clear area of opportunity for consolidation.

Over the next few weeks, Phoebe will begin shifting surgical cases, equipment and supplies from the nine operating rooms on the north campus to the main campus, where there are currently 19 operating rooms. “This change helps to address current circumstances and needs,” said Wernick. "As we further assess long-range utilization of the north campus, the future use of the operating rooms will be a part of those considerations."

As with all previous transitions, Human Resources will work closely with the individuals impacted by this consolidation. These staff members will be treated as priority candidates. We anticipate a very seamless transition for our staff as they are relocated to other positions within the health system.

"Again, all decisions related to the best use of the two campuses will focus on what is in the best interest of our patients' care and what brings the greatest value to our community," said Wernick.

Copyright 2015 WALB. All rights reserved.

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