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Phoebe group backs unit for women, children

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital medical executive committee gave its support Wednesday to develop a free-standing women's and children's hospital at the Phoebe North campus, formerly Palmyra Medical Center, officials say.

Officials further said that the move, part of a strategic direction taken by Phoebe's leadership, is one of four areas of needed services and expansions that have been discussed by the committee -- which represents the hospital's medical staff.

There were various models presented on what the long-term future would be for the campus following its acquisition last December. Other strategic initiatives under discussion for new or expanded programs include critical care and a formal designation as a Level 2 trauma center at Phoebe's main campus, officials say.

The idea is that moving certain services to the Phoebe North campus will free up space on the main campus to allow for expansion of critical care and trauma services.

"This allows us to expand capacity and provide efficiencies we don't have," said Dr. Steven Wolinksy, president of the medical executive committee.

Consolidated inpatient rehabilitation services, considered the fourth area of need, will also be moving into Phoebe North, officials say.

Several planning sessions were reportedly held by Phoebe staff, physicians and board members in recent months, during which each group evaluated services needed in the community, options for services to be located at Phoebe North and the best use of resources.

Following preliminary planning sessions, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital will begin a series of internal stakeholder sessions to further define space and service needs for patient care under the consolidated model before bringing a fully developed concept to the hospital's board, officials say.

A pediatric intensive care unit as well as pediatric surgical specialties could be among the services brought in as a result of the move to the Palmyra Road campus, Wolinksy said.

Wolinksy added that a structured plan regarding implementation of Phoebe North's new mission will likely be in place in the next several months.