LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Lee County commissioners asked for a sit down meeting with Dougherty County leaders on Tuesday night.
This after, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals president told Dougherty County commissioners that the proposed 60-bed hospital would hurt several hospitals in Southwest Georgia - not only Phoebe.
"It appeared that the lobbyist really tried to pit one county against the other," remarked Commissioner Billy Mathis.
Mathis firmly stated the proposed Lee County hospital isn't a Lee versus Dougherty issue.
Mathis along with Commissioner Rick Muggridge both agreed that main issue is giving residents a choice in healthcare.
"The most despicable of the whole deal was that Mr. Veazey - a paid lobbyist basically asked the Dougherty County commission, the Dougherty County people to go against the Lee County," Muggridge explained.
Muggridge said he's undoing years of work to make both communities one.
He also said, "what's good for Lee, is good for Dougherty. And what's good for Dougherty is good for Lee."
The fiasco stemmed from Georgia Alliance for Community Hospitals President Monty Veazey, a leader for a not-for-profit coalition, spoke to Dougherty County commissioners about how the proposed hospital in Lee County would negatively affect several hospitals in the region.
Veazey said the impact on Phoebe could be a loss of between $30 to $40 million annually, that's if all of the paying Lee County patients choose the new Lee County hospital.
"I also thought it was bizarre that a paid lobbyist that works on behalf of Phoebe would ask the Dougherty County commission to speak on a CON application for Lee County," Muggridge remarked, one he believed is a direct violation of an FTC ruling that states the hospital should not get involved with any CON applications.
He also found it irregular that Veazey said he was invited to the meeting by a state senator and county attorney, something that hasn't happened during his nine-year tenure as a county commissioner.
"We'll get a CON, and we'll build a hospital. Lee County Southwest Georgia deserves a choice. It's time for the monopoly to end," Muggridge said,
To get both sides, Lee County commissioners extended an invitation to Dougherty County commissioners to discuss the hospital in greater detail.
Muggridge also asked residents to write the Community Health Director supporting the CON application.
Phoebe Putney hospital spokesperson sent over the following statement:
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