Phoebe's appeal of Palmyra CON denied

ALBANY — It appears the road is clear for Palmyra Medical Center to provide basic maternity services — if it wants to.

Last week, the Georgia Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital regarding a decision by the state Court of Appeals that overturned superior court rulings and affirmed the certificate of need that the Department of Community Health awarded Palmyra, enabling the private hospital to provide obstetrical services. The Appeals Court in July overturned rulings made by superior court judges in Dougherty County and Sumter County in 2010 that had reversed the DCH’s decision to give Palmyra a certificate of need, or CON, to provide basic perinatal services. Phoebe Putney and Phoebe Sumter filed appeals of that ruling shortly afterward, but last week, the state Supreme Court said it would not hear the appeal — effectively affirming the Appeals Court’s ruling in favor of Palmyra and the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Eric Riggle, spokesman for Palmyra, said that officials with the hospital are happy with the ruling, but are awaiting a decision on Palmyra’s potential sale to the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County before moving ahead.

“We are pleased there is an option to pursue bringing this service to our patient care offerings. Going forward, Palmyra will await the results of the proposed hospital sale before determining how to best proceed,” he said.

Pamela Keene, media and public relations manager for DCH, told The Albany Herald that, as far as the agency is concerned, Phoebe’s appeal regarding Palmyra’s CON is over and Palmyra can move forward with providing obstetrical services.

Phoebe officials said they were hopeful that the issue will be resolved by the consummation of the deal to buy Palmyra. If the purchase goes through, the Hospital Authority has said it will contract with Phoebe to operate Palmyra, which would be renamed Phoebe North.

“We are disappointed in the court’s decision on this matter and we are reviewing this,” said Jackie Ryan, vice president of strategy at Phoebe. “Ultimately, we are hopeful that this issue will become moot when the Hospital Authority’s acquisition of Palmyra Medical Center is completed.”

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently weighing in on the sale of Palmyra the county following a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Louis Sands in June that the authority was immune from intervention from the Federal Trade Commission with regard to the transaction.

The $195 million buyout was announced late last December. In April, the FTC and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens asked the federal court for an injunction to hold up the acquisition until the FTC could review it for any federal antitrust violations.

Following the ruling by Sands in favor of Phoebe, the FTC appealed that decision to the federal Appeals Court. Olens’ office did not take part in the appeal.


chinaberry25 4 years ago

Don't have those judges in your pocket this time.


Albanite 4 years ago

Other than for short-term emergency trauma care, there is not a single reason to be misdiagnosed and overcharged by Phoebe. In fact, Palmyra offers better emergency care anyway - and you don't have to wait two hours to see a doctor. Tift Regional is a much better facility than either.


whattheheck 4 years ago

One small loss for Phoebe, one giant gain for the consumer. Phoebe never should have taken it this far--they just don't like to lose even when it makes little difference. They simply have to own the world--one hospital at a time.


ObjectiveEyes 4 years ago

It's Wednesday and the opening line reads, "The Albany Herald has learned that, last week..." LAST WEEK? Wow, thanks for keeping us up to date on last week's news. Maybe it's not to late to get HCA to consider staying. Of course, I'm sure Phoebe has something else up their sleeves. They always seem to.


Cartman 4 years ago

Even if Phoebe adjusts by going through with the buyout. Even if Palmyra falls. Even if the dust settles and Wernick gets to continue building his empire on the backs of one of the poorest district in America. A blow against Phoebe is still a strike against tyranny! Wickedness shouldn't go unchallenged! Fight corruption at every opportunity! You are an example to your children.


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