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Restraining order on sale denied

Dr. Corleen Thompson’s attempt to stop Palmyra Medical Center from being bought by its not-for-profit competitor has been unsuccessful.

Dr. Corleen Thompson’s attempt to stop Palmyra Medical Center from being bought by its not-for-profit competitor has been unsuccessful.

ALBANY — Dr. Corleen Thompson’s attempt to stop Palmyra Medical Center from being bought by its not-for-profit competitor has been unsuccessful.

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Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss

A suit the doctor filed through her attorney, Bo Dorough, last month seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the purchase of Palmyra has been denied.

The suit was filed against the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Phoebe Putney Health System and Palmyra contending, among other things, that authority members violated their responsibilities as public trustees by failing to question Phoebe’s attempted buyout of its competitor.

A hearing regarding the restraining order was held in the Dougherty County Courthouse before Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss, during which attorneys from both sides presented their case.

The decision from Goss, which was filed early Tuesday afternoon, was to deny the restraining order.

The order was filed in an attempt to stop the $195 million acquisition until the matter could be brought before a jury, after which it was requested that the court permanently prevent the sale from going through.

Dorough also asked in the suit that, in the event the buyout is followed through upon, the court set aside the pending lease agreement between the authority and Phoebe Putney Health System that would govern the use and operation of the new hospital, that the court declare the authority’s current lease with Phoebe invalid and that the court enter a judgment that Authority Chair Ralph Rosenberg and Vice Chair Dr. Charles Lingle have breached their fiduciary agreements and assess compensatory and punitive damages against them.

In an exclusive interview with The Albany Herald last month, Thompson said she has witnessed Phoebe’s corporate takeover of local health care both as an outsider and a contracted employee and believes she and the other taxpaying residents of Dougherty County would suffer greatly if the hospitals were allowed to consolidate.

In response to the denial of the restraining order, Jackie Ryan, a spokeswoman for Phoebe, wrote in an email to The Herald: “Not surprised. There is no basis for a restraining order. All issues have been addressed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Dorough, when reached for comment Tuesday, indicated that — while disappointed with what happened in court — he’s not going to give up.

“We are obviously disappointed that we failed to convince Judge Goss that this case (was different from) the one argued in federal court,” he said. “Our claims are based on the Georgia Hospital Authorities Law, rather than the antitrust law in the federal case.”

He said that he still intends to prosecute based on his claims in the suit.

On Friday, Phoebe officials received word that a three-judge panel with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld a decision issued by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands in June stating that the transaction was immune from Federal Trade Commission intervention.

This ruling effectively paves the way for the closing on Palmyra to take place, which is expected to be completed in the next few days.

Comments

whattheheck 2 years, 9 months ago

Phoebe is too big and too powerful to stop until the whole health world is consumed. As the saying goes, "You can't get enough Phoebe!". Good try Bo, but this ball couldn't be stopped once it started rolling.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 9 months ago

You know we all wish we had a gig where nobody had no say-so no matter what we do. Only Phoebe got that. All the rest of us got to do what's right.

"Your arms too short to box with God ('cepting for Phoebe)" Devil Said It!

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bsattrn 2 years, 9 months ago

Palmyra has always struggled. This purchase should make a good hospital into a great hospital. Haters won't admit it but Phoebe is truly a world class health care facility.

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justme 2 years, 9 months ago

I think that now would be about the right time to replace Wernick and Loudermilk. The community has seen how these fellows operate with bogus FBI agents and lavish vacations. Whats to be expected from the back room purchase of Palmrya ?

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chinaberry25 2 years, 9 months ago

Wonder what Phoebe Wetherbee would think of these moves?

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chinaberry25 2 years, 9 months ago

Sorry. it is Phoebe Putney who is related to the Wetherbees. Too early in the morning.

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Albanite 2 years, 9 months ago

Wernick and Loudermilk and their families are personas non gratis - no longer welcome here.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 9 months ago

Wernick and Loudermilk don't have families...not any more, at least. Both very interesting stories, by the way...

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Cartman 2 years, 9 months ago

Someone needs to make some medical bracelets that read, "Do not take me to Phoebe". I'd buy one.

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frustratedtothemax 2 years, 9 months ago

I think it is wrong for Phoebe to be allowed to purchase Palmyra Hospital. What happened to everyone's freedom of choice? I believe everyone should have a choice as to what hospital they want to go to. When is going to be enough? What ever happened to the MONOPOLY LAWS? When is enough going to be enough? Phoebe has bought almost every hospital in surrounding area and have countless Phoebe centers. If Phoebe was as good as they claim then people would not have to make a choice. The problem with them taking over yet another hospital is the prices for medical care will sky rocket out of control because they know people can't afford to go out of town for medical treatment. Phoebe already price gouges people as it is. If you don't have insurance you already have to pay more for services. Take their convenient care for an example. I went to one of their convenient care centers and because I did not have insurance at the time and I was charged more. I asked them why. I was told they were a mini ER while the person behind me asked them a question and the receptionist told that person it was because they were a clinic when the person stated they had insurance. I know for a fact that if I had my own business I could not go around and purchase other similar business because that would fall under the "Monopoly Laws" especially if I purchased as many entities that Phoebe has done. Another question is where is Phoebe coming up with all this money considering they claim to be a non-profit hospital and do not have to pay taxes?

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seriously0610 2 years, 9 months ago

@ frustratedtothemax "Take their convenient care for an example. I went to one of their convenient care centers and because I did not have insurance at the time and I was charged more. I asked them why. I was told they were a mini ER while the person behind me asked them a question and the receptionist told that person it was because they were a clinic when the person stated they had insurance."

The convenient care you are talking about is 2 separate "clinics". There is a small Physician's practice in there and there is also a "mini ER". They just operate with the same office staff. That is probably why you were told that and the person behind you was told something different. It depends on what you are being seen for. The person behind you was probably using the clinic instead of the "mini ER". I also would like to say that I am not defending them for charging you more because you didn't have insurance, but a lot of places ask for so much upfront if you don't have insurance or if you have a high deductible to help cover what insurance doesn't pay or so you're not stuck with a huge bill after the fact.

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