From left, Tracy Morgan, the new vice president for women's and children's services at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, is introduced to the hospital board by Laura Shearer, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. Morgan started her duties at the hospital earlier this week.
ALBANY, Ga. -- As the drafting process for the lease on Phoebe North is ongoing, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital officials are reflecting on the feedback they received from the overflow crowd that came out for the May 24 public hearing regarding the lease.
Meanwhile, the contract has been renewed for health services provided for inmates at Dougherty County Jail.
At a Wednesday board meeting for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick recapped a previous presentation he made which included a historical overview, the growth of the Phoebe organization over time and the rationale for the "buy or build" decision behind the purchase of the former Palmyra Medical Center.
Among the points he presented included what the future holds for the hospital. While the long-term use for the facility has still yet to be ironed out, officials seem to be leaning toward turning its former competitor into a women's and children's services center, Wernick indicated.
Pertaining specifically to comments made at the public hearing last month, Wernick addressed an assertion that Phoebe is not paying taxes on property it has bought, but is not using for medical purposes.
"That is not true," Wernick said. "(We have a policy) that if we have property and it is not being used for tax-exempt purposes, we will pay taxes on it."
Tim Dill, hospital board member and the top executive at MillerCoors, addressed at the body's meeting accusations that companies have left Southwest Georgia -- or are not coming to the region at all -- because of health care costs.
Dill made his point by claiming that he had crunched some numbers and found that health care is costing his company $1.44 a barrel of beer, while the cost to transport the company's product is almost seven times higher.
"Do I wish the cost was lower, yes, but (the accusation) is not what's happening," he said.
Also among the business items brought before the board was the renewal of the contract for health services provided for inmates at Dougherty County Jail.
An 11th hour agreement between Phoebe and county officials resulted in a renegotiated contract that was originally worth $1.55 million to be cut by $643,000 -- causing the number of unpaid holidays for employees of Dougherty County to be reduced.
The approval of the renewal by the hospital board allowed the contract to be reinstated for one year beginning July 1. As part of the agreement, the county is expected to pay Phoebe roughly $913,000 over a one-year period in monthly installments of just more than $76,000, documents show.
A new vice president of women's and children's services was introduced to the board as well. Tracy Morgan, who has family ties to the Albany area, began her duties at the hospital earlier this week.