ViewPoint: Why shouldn't hospitals compete?

April 15, 2008

Competition is a good thing - unless, of course, you are a big business with a monopoly on your service.

When the legislature recently changed the hospital Certificates of Need law, we, the patients and customers, scored a victory against the big guys.

It doesn't make sense that Phoebe Putney Hospital is the only game in town when it comes to delivering babies. And why not allow surgeons to open surgical centers?

These changes won't impact Phoebe's ability to serve the public; they might, however, force them to lower the high rates they charge.  But you won't hear that from them:

"If the efficiency of our center is undermined, I don't think the effect is going to be one of driving down the costs.  I think it has the potential to drive up costs," said Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick.

The Hospital Administrator's argument is ridiculous. The change won't drive up prices, it will do just the opposite.

When the day comes that we will have a choice on where to go for certain medical procedures, we believe Phoebe Putney will be forced to lower its prices to remain competitive. And in our eyes, that's a good thing.

South Georgians deserve quality health care at reasonable prices.  So thank you, Georgia lawmakers, for going to bat for the citizens of Georgia.