Palmyra acquisition completed

Palmyra Medical Center

Palmyra Medical Center

— ALBANY — It’s a done deal.

Officials with Phoebe Putney Health System announced Thursday that they had completed all the steps to legally acquire Palmyra Medical Center.

The final steps, which included a wire transfer of $195 million to Hospital Corporation of America, were completed at 1:30 p.m.

The action cleared the way for the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County to take possession of the recently purchased hospital, which will now be known as Phoebe North, at 12:01 a.m. today.

“We have been busy the last few days on the site of Palmyra,” said Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick. “There are a lot of things to work on as we transfer the property into the system.”

Since the acquisition was first announced on Dec. 21 of last year, Phoebe officials have been working on a plan to onboard the hospital — which included plans for the facility — until legal challenges, primarily from the Federal Trade Commission, were settled.

“We will refresh that process as we merge the best ideas,” Wernick said. “Our goal is to immediately address our capacity problems.”

Joe Austin, chief operating officer for the health system, said the process of determining the long-term plans for the facility will take a few months to complete. There have been outside parties brought in, such as architects, to help figure that out.

As for immediate future, things are expected to be the same.

“Over the last year, we have worked to get the operations ready for the transition,” Austin said. “The work leading up to this point has been tremendous.

“For the immediate future, (the hospital) will be operated as it is now. There is a great group of people over there. It is a high-quality hospital, and we expect to make no major changes.”

Officials expect the acquisition to allow Phoebe to address expansion of its intensive care services, which is often on divert status due to lack of space.

The patients currently at the Palmyra Road hospital should not notice a difference in overall operations either, officials say.

“The patients will go from being costumers of HCA to being customers of Phoebe North,” Wernick said. “Hopefully they will not have noticed that anything has taken place (overnight).”

Officials have been going through the process of signing employees up for benefits, and there have been meetings taking place with personnel to establish communication with them.

Aside from 22 Palmyra employees — some of whom were former Phoebe employees who left on bad terms — there is not expected to be any staff changes.

“We anticipate that all the employees there will become Phoebe employees,” Wernick said. “The people there will continue doing what they are doing now. There are no immediate plans for anyone to have different jobs.”

In regard to individuals whose health insurance plans have had Palmyra as an in-network hospital, Wernick said that all the contracts will be assumed by Phoebe, and details with the impacted insurance companies will be worked out.

He also indicated that the number of companies to negotiate with are now few in number.

“We actually tried to address most of the insurance plans before the transaction,” the CEO said. “(For those not yet settled), our goal is to expedite that conclusion.”

A ruling on Dec. 9 from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a District Court ruling that the authority is immune from federal oversight by the FTC, opened the door for the sale to be completed.


deno32 3 years, 9 months ago

So much for having a "Choice" in Healthcare. Now, what is gonna be done bout the ppl that don't have insurance coverage, and can't use Phoebe's healthcare providers? Where can they go for treatment?


interested 3 years, 9 months ago

Interesting comment given the fact that Phoebe is one of the largest charity care providers in the state. Deno32, that means they don't have insurance.


Trustbuster 3 years, 9 months ago

This acquisition in my opinion does nothing at reducing healthcare costs. All Phoebe is trying to do is reduce competition and limit services in the guise of nonprofit. Unfortunately the courts are not on the side of the consumer. This is very chilling since we the consumers will be at risk.


whattheheck 3 years, 9 months ago

Let the billing begin! High fives, cigars, and bonuses for execs while we start looking for another city to do anything non-emergency.


FlunkyMonkey 3 years, 9 months ago

Let the feeding frenzy begin!! Who is going to get rich? Those in upper echelon of the medical community. I am already at the point where I can't get medical treatment because I don't have insurance and don't qualify for medicaid or state assisted medical treatment. Now, thanks to this HOSTILE TAKEOVER all of my choices have been taken away should I need emergency care. Way to go Albany--you screwed the pooch again!


FlunkyMonkey 3 years, 9 months ago

Let the bloodbath begin--all employees of Palmyra will become employees of Phoebe except those 22 who left on bad terms with Phoebe--if you are a healthcare worker, start kissing Phoebe's you know what now--otherwise, you will be locked out of employment in any town/city where Phoebe maintains the healthcare facilities.


Sally_O 3 years, 9 months ago

They should rename Albany to Phoebeville.


Cartman 3 years, 9 months ago

Like Pottersville in the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life". Joel and Mr. Potter have a lot in common.


Jacob 3 years, 9 months ago

Bye Proctor and Gamble. It was nice having you.


sue 3 years, 9 months ago

Bad, sad news for albany. time to line Wernick's pockets with even more cash. Non-profit? What a joke! Joel and Phoebe do not give a damn about the community. They make people with cancer pay up front. they overcharge, intentionally make their bills confusing and rape you every chance they get.

Pretty soon all the good people working hard to improve Albany will have to admit defeat in the face of Phoebeville.


JR 3 years, 9 months ago

Some of these posts are way off the mark. First of all, Phoebe is run by it's board members. Most all are business people.... Do you really think the head of Miller or the giant chicken plant or the head of a large wood manufacturing plant to just name a few want to raise healthcare pricing for their employees, too? The board members are smart, community minded indicviduals. But go ahead and shout about pricing. Palmyra was actually slightly higher overall in that category than Phoebe (another small fact some choose to ignore). Maybe without duplication in our small town, some of that will benefit the consumer. Palmyra was operating only a fraction of it's licensed beds because no one was choosing to go there except mainly through the EC. Most severe cases are sent to Phoebe anyway due the technology. And guess what, the new Phoebe North EC isn't closing. So, come see us. Funny how towns like Valdosta which is just consolidated its two hospitals in the same manner gets a hall pass. I guess they're doomed, too? Tifton, Americus, Thomasville..all one hospital. Big ol Columbus? Just two owners. Yes, we're all doomed! You folks need to get a life. Signed, a very proud NEW Phoebe North employee that was formally with Palmyra!!!


Dash 3 years, 9 months ago

I am thankful a city the size of Albany has a health care system as large and dedicated to this community as Phoebe. If Phoebe wasn't here, thousands of people would be without a job - not to mention those who don't work at Phoebe but who still make money selling services and goods to the health care system. Where would Albany be without Phoebe? We would probably have a hospital that only offers the profitable services - no cutting-edge cancer services or neonatal care, just to name a couple. Those hospitals only update equipment when it is falling apart. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you prefer treatment with outdated equipment and not enough nurses, you can still go to another town. As for me, I'm thankful I can stay right at home and have health care second to none!


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