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Board OKs bylaws, review panel

Ron Wallace listens as he is introduced by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board Chair John Culbreath at the board's meeting Wednesday. Wallace is new to the board, having replaced Steven Belk after he relocated.

Ron Wallace listens as he is introduced by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board Chair John Culbreath at the board's meeting Wednesday. Wallace is new to the board, having replaced Steven Belk after he relocated.

ALBANY — With the addition of a new board member, among the actions taken by the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital board Wednesday was approval of a new set of medical staff bylaws as well as the formation of a new subcommittee.

The bylaws, which had been undergoing revisions for roughly four years, were presented by attorney Dawn Benson at the board meeting. The process of revising the bylaws required involvement from attorneys, as well as a comprehensive review by the hospital’s medical staff.

Before this most recent review, only parts of the bylaws had been revised rather than the document as a whole. They were also composed of several documents, as opposed to one uniform document.

“That was part of the reason why it took so long,” Benson said. “This required reading over the entire document.”

Benson went over the major changes made to the document, which she described primarily as “technical.” One included a provision allowing doctors from outside the region privileges to practice at Phoebe in the event of an emergency situation.

There was also a change that now allows for physicians new to the staff to join the board earlier than two years from their date of employment, which had not been permitted previously. It also institutes a formal method of addressing physicians who might be interested in joining the board.

In addition, a mandate was added obligating the vice president of the medical staff to attend board meetings in order to be able to report back to co-workers about the meetings.

In other news, the board established a subcommittee for the purpose of looking at the hospital’s community benefit dollars more closely.

The formation of the subcommittee comes in response to Internal Revenue Service stipulations related to community benefits at not-for-profit hospitals.

“As part of that, we need to do an assessment to make sure those dollars are being allocated correctly,” said Tom Sullivan, senior vice president of strategy and development at Phoebe. “So, we are looking at all the funding done for the community.”

Emails are being sent out to potential members, and officials expect the panel to be up and running early next year.

The new member to join the board Wednesday was Ron Wallace, who has been living in the area 10 years. He replaces Steven Belk, who has since relocated to New York.