Hospital alliance chief answers questions about proposed Lee hos - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hospital alliance chief answers questions about proposed Lee hospital

Dougherty County commissioners (Source: WALB) Dougherty County commissioners (Source: WALB)
A break down of Phoebe's benefits to the community. (Source: WALB) A break down of Phoebe's benefits to the community. (Source: WALB)
The would be future home of the Lee County hospital. (Source: WALB) The would be future home of the Lee County hospital. (Source: WALB)
Phoebe Putney (Source: WALB) Phoebe Putney (Source: WALB)

The leader of a coalition of non-profit hospitals in Georgia educated Dougherty County leaders on what he thinks the impact a new hospital in neighboring Lee County will have on their community, asking people to do their own research, and check the facts.

The Georgia Alliance for Community Hospitals President Monty Veazey said he was invited to address questions about the new, 60-bed Lee County Medical Center, a for-profit hospital backed by an out-of-state investment group.

Right now, Georgia's Department of Health is deciding whether to give the okay for the hospital to be built.

Veazey said analysis by the hospital alliance shows a new Lee hospital will negatively affect several hospitals in the region, not only Phoebe.

According to Veazey, the direct impact of a new Lee hospital will be between $30 to $40 million annually, that's if all of the paying Lee County patients choose the new Lee hospital, and also includes $10 million in charitable care provided annually by Phoebe for Lee County residents.

Veazey believes that as the Certificate of Need rules read now, there is no need for the hospital.

Veazey also wanted to combat long-standing rumors about the cost of Phoebe's non-profit status to taxpayers in Dougherty County, demonstrating Phoebe provides several times more in community benefits than what they would pay in ad-valorum taxes.

"If you take all of the taxes they (Phoebe) are exempted from, it comes to about $9 million a year. But, if you look at the community benefit, it is $54 million a year. So it is $5.61 to every dollar. Pretty good deal for Dougherty County citizens," said Veazey.

Veazey attained the $54 million figure by totaling the costs to Phoebe for uninsured and under-insured patients in Dougherty County, the Medicaid shortfall and multiple other line items, including nursing and physician training.

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