Lee Co. official outraged over proposed hospital discussion - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. official outraged over proposed hospital discussion

Lee Co. School Board Member Louis Hatcher (Source: WALB) Lee Co. School Board Member Louis Hatcher (Source: WALB)
Lee Co. Development Authority Director Winston Oxford (Source: WALB) Lee Co. Development Authority Director Winston Oxford (Source: WALB)
The Department of Community Health will make a decision on the CON next month (Source: WALB) The Department of Community Health will make a decision on the CON next month (Source: WALB)
LEE CO., GA (WALB) -

One Lee County official said he was "shaken" after he claims another county leader asked him to tamper with Dougherty County's opposition of the proposed Lee County Medical Center.

Lee County School Board Member Louis Hatcher claimed Winston Oxford, the Lee County Development Authority Director, suggested Hatcher talk to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's CEO Joel Wernick about getting Dougherty County commissioners to lift their opposition on the Lee County hospital's Certificate of Need.

Hatcher said he spoke to Oxford back in August and suggested that Oxford and other county leaders denounce the tactics coming from the Phoebe Factoids Facebook page. 

The school board member said Oxford called him a week later claiming the Federal Trade Commission was tightening up on the possibility of fining Phoebe for allegedly playing a role in the opposition of the proposed hospital.

MORE:
+Dougherty Co. commission votes to oppose Lee Co. hospital
+Lee Co. medical center faces more opposition
+Dougherty Co. concerned over indigent care funding 
+Officials host conference call on proposed Lee Co. Medical Center

+Proposed Lee Co. hospital has a friend in Plains

According to Hatcher, Oxford said there was a possibility that Phoebe could avoid the fines with the following statement:

"If Joel Wernick were to go before the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners and tell them that if Phoebe did not object to the Certificate of Need on the Lee County Medical Center and that he didn't want them to object. He said, 'Counselor, I think this whole thing could go away.'"

Hatcher felt Oxford's request was dishonest and wrong.

WALB News 10 reached out to Oxford about the allegations. He issued this response:

"Louis Hatcher grossly mischaracterized a discussion from months ago. Rather than talking about his supposed outrage, we should be focusing on the expanded access to quality care, jobs, and the many other benefits that Lee County Medical Center will bring to our community."

The Georgia Department of Community Health is expected to make a decision on the CON next month.

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