ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A concerned Albany native claims competition against Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital would help area health care.
A creator of Phoebe Factoids, a Facebook page used to discuss concerns about the hospital was one of several people who spoke in front of Dougherty County commissioners Monday morning. The presentation lasting nearly two hours.
Will Geer primarily resides in Johns Creek, Georgia, but is a native of Albany, and owns a CPA firm over on Third Avenue. He says he has family, friends, and employees who live in the area, and he wants to see better health care.
"I love Phoebe. I want to change the administration," Geer said. "I know there are people who love Phoebe. I love Phoebe. I want to love a better Phoebe and support a better Phoebe."
Geer says his purpose for attending today's Dougherty County Commission meeting was primarily in response to Monty Veazy, the CEO of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, who spoke in front of commissioners last week.
Veazey warned commissioners that a Lee County hospital would have a negative impact on several area hospitals-- including Phoebe.
"I knew the community needed to see a different side of the story," Geer said.
Geer says he's a strong supporter of competition and says it's needed. He calls Phoebe a 'monopoly' when it comes to this area's health care.
"If the Lee County Hospital does come in here, there are a lot of things that are not very good, and it's going to flush those things out."
Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas says today's meeting was an excellent illustration of civil discourse.
"We have so many issues that intersect here with people who have had good experiences with Phoebe, and people who have had bad experiences with Phoebe," said Cohilas.
A number of those bad experiences have been posted on the Phoebe Factoids. Geer is one of the creators of the page. He says he uses it to convey his research of the hospital, sometimes including posts about area leaders like the Dougherty County Commission Chairman.
"If it was something that was offensive, I would gladly look the chairman in the eye and tell him sorry that it offended him. But there was never anything meant to be personal," Geer said.
"It's about one of the most emotional subjects that people can talk about," said Cohilas. "Because when you talk about health care, you're talking about your babies, children, grandchildren, and elderly. It's a tough issue.
Cohilas says his commissioners will now need to decide how they're going to analyze the different information.
Geer says he has put in a request to speak to Phoebe's CEO to discuss his concerns, but has yet to have that opportunity.
Right now, Georgia's Department of Health is deciding whether to give the okay for the hospital to be built.
Phoebe officials responded with the following statement to Monday's presentation to the Dougherty County Commission:
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