ViewPoint: Surgeons aren't specialists?

February 14, 2008

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is south Georgia's largest health care provider and the area's largest employer.  It's an indispensable asset to this community, but sometimes the hospital with a heart can be a bully.

Here's the latest example.  Georgia is the only state in the country that doesn't recognize general surgeons as specialists. 

The Department of Community Health decided to change that and give surgeons the right to open outpatient surgery centers.  That would certainly give you more health care options, and it would likely save you money.

Phoebe doesn't care about that.  Phoebe and the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals filed suit to prevent the change.  They argue that under Georgia's complex Certificate of Need laws, the Department of Community Health doesn't have the power to allow surgeons to open their own centers. 

Maybe that's a valid point, or maybe it's just a smokescreen.  Phoebe and the community hospital alliance are trying to keep more money in their pockets at your expense.  We'd like to see them drop their lawsuit.

The Department of Community Health got it right.  It's time to bring Georgia in line with every other state in the country.  General surgeons clearly are specialists.  They deserve the right to open outpatient centers, and we deserve the right to have more health care choices.