ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County Commission’s representative on the Hospital Authority solicited feedback from his fellow commissioners this week on whether the authority should allow Phoebe to manage the campus of the former Palmyra Medical Centers.
District 2 Commissioner John Hayes asked the Dougherty County Commission if they had any feedback or input that he should weigh before the board makes a decision on the matter in the coming weeks.
The commissioners were mostly silent.
“That’s why you’re our representative on the board,” Commissioner Muarlean Edwards said. “We trust you and respect you to make a decision on our behalf.”
Hayes said Wednesday that he felt it important to get input from the commission, given that he was chosen by the commission to represent their wishes on the authority.
Of all the authority members, Hayes perhaps has the most treacherous tight rope to walk on the Phoebe/Palmyra issue.
Not only is he expected to represent the interests of the county commission, but he also the only member of the board who is an elected official, meaning he also has to answer to his constituents and the constituents of the county commission.
Whether Phoebe, who on behalf of the hospital authority, negotiated a $195 million deal with Palmyra’s parent company HCA to purchase the hospital, should end up managing the facility is a hotly contested issue.
Those who support the deal say that Phoebe has a proven track record of providing quality care and that if Phoebe isn’t allowed to use the facility it would be forced to build a separate facility at a much higher price tag.
Detractors say that if Phoebe ends up in control of Palmyra that there would be no check on healthcare prices, creating a virtual healthcare monopoly with little competition.