Lee Co. Hospital CEO attempted to acquire Phoebe North

Lee Co. Hospital CEO attempted to acquire Phoebe North
About 38 percent of the funds needed to transform the former Grand Island property will come from commercial loans (Source: WALB)
Documents show the request (Source: WALB)
Documents show the request (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Public Record requests reveal the new Lee County hospital CEO G. Edward Alexander attempted to purchase Phoebe North several years before getting involved with the Lee County facility.

Alexander said people from the area told him they wanted more competition, and he saw the region as a good fit for business.

Early interest in the area

Brush has taken over the once Grand Island Golf Course

It hasn't had much of a fight since a lengthy process to open up the Lee County Medical Center shut it down.

"I too became convinced that it was a market that needed another facility if nothing else just to spark competition," Alexander said, related to his early interest in the Albany area.

Alexander said he first became interested in operating a hospital in the Albany area when an Albany real estate investment company approached him about the need for more healthcare competition.

Documents show that Alexanders efforts to create a new hospital did not start in Lee County. Rather, they started in Albany on Palmyra Road.

Under a company named the North Albany Medical Center, documents state Alexander tried to convince the Georgia Department of Community Health to allow the Federal Trade Commission to order Phoebe to sell or lease him Phoebe North in 2014.

At the time, DCH documents state the Federal Trade Commission was working to finalize an anti-trust settlement with Phoebe and requested more information to see if it could make the company divest the former Palmyra Hospital.

"I was a bit ambivalent about that initiative," Alexander said. "You know, to me, I like doing de novo hospitals because you get to build them the right way."

Ultimately, Georgia Certificate of Need Laws and further legal actions put an end to Alexander's attempt to acquire Phoebe North.

"I don't really like it," Alexander said, regarding the state of Georgia's CON laws. "I understand why the laws were created, at the time they were created, but I believe they're antiquated at this moment in time."

For those reasons, Alexander said he remained determined. DCH documents reveal that those behind the North Albany Medical Center said they would continue to work to create another hospital in the region.

"So, I knew it was going to be tough," Alexander said. "It was but, in for a penny in for a pound. So, we agreed to go the distance. Once, we started we were not going to back off."

LCMC moving forward

Alexander said he is meeting with contractors and architects next week to talk project specifics.

Those in opposition to the Lee County Medical Center still have a little over a week to appeal its certificate of need.

That would potentially stop the project.

Lee County Commissioners said they believed Crisp Regional may try to appeal when the hospital was awarded a CON last month.

The appeal deadline is December 15.

The Georgia Department of Community Health document libraries do not show any reports related to an appeal at this time.

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