Dr. Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, updates the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County on Thursday regarding the status of Phoebe North. Since Aug. 1, the Palmyra Road facility and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital have been operating under the same lease.
ALBANY, Ga. — Piece by piece, things are coming together for the long-term plans at the former Palmyra Medical Center.
Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, started off a meeting of the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County on Thursday by briefing the body on the status of the Phoebe North transition.
At the Hospital Authority’s last meeting on July 25, it approved an amended and fully restated lease for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. This move allowed Phoebe and Phoebe North to be combined under a single lease that became effective on Aug. 1.
“We transitioned successfully on Aug. 1 as one hospital,” Patten said.
Some things regarding accreditation still need to be ironed out by the Joint Commission, Patten said. In the meantime, he added, input is being received from Phoebe’s medical staff as to how space can be best utilized at Phoebe North as it is transformed into a free-standing women’s and children’s center.
Part of the plan, Patten said, will be to take the neonatal intensive care unit at Phoebe’s main campus and put it into a space at Phoebe North, allowing for a single-bed, single-room setup.
“We will have some flexibility (such as a removable partition) so we can accommodate more than one child (per room in the case of multiple births),” he said.
As it stands right now, there are six free-standing women’s and children’s hospitals in the nation, officials have said.
“We saw an opportunity to do a women’s and children’s hospital (and do well with it). We didn’t realize how rare it was,” Patten said.
Having roughly 90,000 children in Phoebe’s primary coverage area does justify using the space for this purpose, Patten said.
“If parents ever have a sick child, they don’t want to leave home,” he said. “They can stay closer to home and engage better in (their child’s) care.”
Kerry Loudermilk, chief financial officer for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, presented some figures from an income statement drafted on the authority.
The statement showed a break-even budget for the body, reflective of $802,800 in income from operations as well as total expenses for Fiscal Year 2013.
Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick noted in his report that Phoebe Putney Health System had recently made a sizable donation to the nursing program at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.
The health system donated a $1 million matching gift to help build a simulation lab for students to use at the new Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex, which held a ribbon-cutting for its first phase on Wednesday, according to a news release on the school’s website.
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter spoke during the program, and former President Jimmy Carter was set to be on hand. Others in attendance included University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, and Rep. Mike Cheokas, R-Americus.
The new space, known as Carter One, is a 46,000-square-foot classroom and clinical space for the institution’s nursing school and student health center. In all, the two-phase project is worth roughly $15 million, the news release said.