ViewPoint: Is the public represented on the Hospital Authority?

On December 17th, Dougherty County Commissioners appointed members to more than a dozen community boards.  But they couldn't agree on one appointment to one of the most important groups--  the Hospital Authority.

That Authority technically owns Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, although a separate Phoebe Putney Board oversees the hospital's operations.  The cost of health care in our region is an important concern for all of us.  Vince Falcione has done more than anyone to raise awareness of the issue, and that's why we think he should be appointed to the Hospital Authority.

Falcione is the spokesperson for a coalition fighting to lower health care costs for you.  He's also an employee at Procter and Gamble, one of Albany's largest employers.  P&G recently announced a 35-million dollar Albany expansion, but not without reservations about rising health care costs for its employees.  Albany industries deserve a voice on the Hospital Authority.

The other nominee for the Authority appointment is Lamar Reese, a capable and dedicated leader who has served this community in many important ways for decades.  He would certainly be a fine Hospital Authority member, but it's time to bring a fresh voice to that group. Someone who's not afraid to ask tough questions.  Someone who's not afraid to stand up against the establishment when that is what's best for south Georgia families struggling to pay their medical bills. 

That's why, when the issue comes up for another vote early next year, we urge Dougherty County Commissioners to make Vince Falcione the next member of the Hospital Authority.