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.
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.