Laura Shearer, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, gives an overview of the plans that are in place to combine the rehab center at the main hospital with the one at Phoebe North to the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County Thursday. The merging of the two centers is anticipated to take place in August.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Plans are being finalized for the public hearing at which citizens will get to have their say about the anticipated lease for Phoebe North.
The public hearing on the lease has been scheduled for May 24 at 10 a.m. at the 222 Pine Avenue Government Center, the same venue at which Albany City and Dougherty County commission meetings are held.
State law requires organizers to send out three notices prior to a public hearing, the first of which should appear 60 days before the hearing is set to take place. The notices have been running in The Albany Herald's legal advertisements since March 22.
The law also states that the lease for Phoebe North cannot become effective until 60 days have passed since the hearing, Jay Reynolds, the authority's attorney, said at a board meeting in March.
While people are giving their input at the meeting, there will be a secretary recording comments that are made -- which will be discussed among authority members at their next meeting.
All of the authority's members are expected to be present at the hearing.
"We will not discuss (the lease) with those that are there," said Ralph Rosenberg, chairman of the Hospital Authority. "We are just there to listen.
"The board will take into consideration what people say. If necessary, we will incorporate those suggestions into the lease."
A draft of the lease is expected to be given to the authority for consideration in the coming weeks.
The process of drafting the lease is ongoing as officials with Phoebe Putney Health System and the Federal Trade Commission await word on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case regarding the FTC's opposition to the acquisition of Phoebe North.
Laura Shearer, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, also gave an overview on the process that needs to be taken to consolidate the rehabilitation center at the main campus with the one at Phoebe North.
The rehab facility at Phoebe North can accommodate 25 people and has an occupancy rate of 5-20 percent, while the center at Phoebe Putney has 18 beds and has an occupancy rate as high as 80 percent, Shearer said.
The decision has been made to consolidate the two centers into the Phoebe North campus some time in August, in part because the rehab facilities there are newer and have more space to work with -- and therefore present more opportunities for growth.
"We are prepping here while the census is lower, and we are training the staff (for the change)," Shearer said from Phoebe North on Thursday.
Shearer added that there are no planned layoffs as a result of the anticipated consolidation.
Plans are for Phoebe North to be operating under the same license as its sister hospital by Aug. 1.