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Phoebe has delivered on quality health care

This week the Hospital Authority of Albany and Dougherty County will hear comments on the lease agreement to transfer operations of Phoebe North to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Not surprisingly, there is a campaign of misinformation. But the citizens deserve to know that Phoebe’s volunteer board of directors — people who live and work in this community — have been exceptional stewards of their assets.

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Lem Griffin

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John Culbreath

Now the Authority will lease a new asset, Phoebe North, to improve services and expand access to care. Consolidation of health care resources is a sound decision echoed across the country. The national healthcare landscape today more than ever demands consolidation for the future viability of delivery. Look around Georgia, where consolidations are occurring north, south, east and west of us — and with enormous benefit. We need only look at the growth and quality of our healthcare resources here to understand Phoebe’s role in the health of our community. Modern health care will be delivered best by the most efficient, integrated health care systems.

It’s an easy checklist — largest employer, nearly $1 billion in economic impact that benefits everyone, more than $120 million in community benefits annually and advanced technologies and the best medical professionals available anywhere. Such was not the case in 1990, when the Authority authorized the creation of the Health System and Hospital Boards. The challenge handed to those boards by the Authority through the leasing arrangement was to make Phoebe grow to its fullest potential to serve the citizens of this region. Everything that has been developed and built since then — including facilities, services, technologies and programs — is the result of that decision and (through the Hospital Authority) belongs to the citizens of Albany and Dougherty County.

But above all else there is the mission — Phoebe Putney has done all of the above and delivered on a promise to care for everyone regardless of ability to pay. Prudent management of the Authority’s assets has improved services and expanded access while eliminating the taxpayer’s payment for indigent care.

Our focus remains on the patients, their families, and the communities we serve. We will continue to partner with the doctors, nurses and health care professionals who have made the community’s health and healing their top priority.

Those who oppose this arrangement offer no alternative solution that guarantees access to all, and burden to none. As the chairmen of the Phoebe Health System and Hospital Boards, we can attest to the commitment we have made to ensure access, not just for today but for decades to come.

Lem Griffin is chairman of Phoebe Health System Board and John Culbreath is chairman of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Comments

honestlysaying 2 years, 2 months ago

"It’s an easy checklist — largest employer, nearly $1 billion in economic impact that benefits everyone, more than $120 million in community benefits annually and advanced technologies and the best medical professionals available anywhere" How interesting that the primary arguments for this start with economic impact and the words billion and million and then end with a brief mention of the best medical professionals anywhere. Is the order of importance relevant here? " We will continue to partner with the doctors, nurses and health care professionals who have made the community’s health and healing their top priority." Has the Authority polled the doctors, nurses, and health care professionals to see how this partnership with health and healing being a top priority is going? I don't think so but certainly the public should poll them at least informally, ask the ones you know, the answers may be quite revealing. "Not surprisingly, there is a campaign of misinformation." As a community member trying to educate myself I think terms like "campaign of misinformation" should be explained and justified in detail so that we too can make quality decisions. The tone of the letter almost sounds as if the decision to pursue the lease is and was a forgone conclusion. If indeed all of the facilities, services, technologies and programs belong to the community, shouldn't every effort be made to hear all of the community's feedback at a time that affords most of them an opportunity to show up and give input about all of the assets and services they own? "Those who oppose this arrangement offer no alternative solution that guarantees access to all, and burden to none." Quite the blanket statement of condemnation of any dissenting opinion there wouldn't you say? Dr. Stubbs and other members of the community might take issue with that. More likely the alternative solutions offered that would preserve some choice and some competition are immediately disregarded and receive that same blanket condemnation. As for the access to all and burden to none, most of us would beg to differ. I'm not sure what utopia the authors of the above letter live in but those that pay taxes, those that have no or little insurance but still struggle to pay large health care bills might take issue with that statement. Is consolidation happening all over the country? To some degree yes and in many but not all markets. Does the "growth of resources" define the success of these mergers and acquisitions, and more importantly should it? Should all of this growth come at the expense of choice and fair competition? It seems that there are many voices that want to be heard, that have a desire for the "facilities, services, technologies and programs" that they own to be managed in alternative ways. Can all of these people be wrong? It would seem unlikely. Are they being presented as wrong because they disagree with those with the power, influence and money? It seems likely.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

I found it interesting that neither Dr. Culbreath nor Mr. Edwards once used the word "choice" in their defense of consolidation.

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redneckgourmet 2 years, 2 months ago

What we need is for Phoebe to start paying taxes. Sorry, but you are no longer a "non-profit" when you have tens of millions in profits. It would take a little of the burden off of tax payers in Dougherty County. Phoebe, and many other "non-profits", gobble up some of the most expensive real estate in Dougherty County and take it off the tax rolls. Of course, we can't expect our leaders to look into this, because they are all, in one way or another, paid off by Phoebe officials. How can we, the People, get this ball rolling??

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Mr_Heatmiser 2 years, 2 months ago

Your first step should be to look up the definition of a non-profit organization.

Your second step should be to look into why Phoebe has exempt status, and then decide if you think they should forego that status and become a for-profit entity.

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RegardlessOfTheFacts 2 years, 2 months ago

Of course facts are ignored such as the gross conspiracy to break federal and state law. When Joel, HCA execs, PPHS and ppmh boards along with the hospital authority purchased Palmyra Hospital a public hearing was required to occur before said transaction which means the transaction occurred illegally and all individuals involved were complicit to violate the laws of the state of georgia while in conspiracy to avoid being subject to federal law. Aside from the obvious double and triple chargin, why did Joel Wernick receive an interest free loan on his house. Why does our local charitable hospital have Loudermilk sitting as chairman of a debt collecting corporation suing patients whom are forced to pay Phoebe 252 percent markup bills. They state quality care, but blood borne infections are through the roof, the hospital has a bed bug infection and numerous procedures like open heart surgeries have outcomes below national average. Joel and the PPHS leadership has enriched themselves at the consequence of the tax payers and citizens of SOWEGa.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

And nobody is addressing the Factual Data about COSTS increases or comparisons to other regions where competition exists.

PS: Phoebe, please stop sending me all that crap mail propaganda and I could do with less TV commercials too. If you're a MONOPOLY.......why do you need to advertise?? OH, yes it's to try to generate positive PR, not drum up business. But I'm too smart for you.

Examining the GIRTH of the two gentlement in the photos above, I'd say they're being well compensated for their endorsements and that most of the income is going toward stuffing their faces.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 2 months ago

Here we go again, trotting out the "lemmings" in an attempt to manufacture their own "campaign of misinformation." Tooting your own horn with, "...have been exceptional stewards..." I guess that includes paying $195 million for a complex that is worth $65 million? I agree that consolidations are happening across the country. No one has submitted data that would prove this was the right thing to do. Here are facts (information for Georgia Watch...check out their website for more info): Phoebe Putney, "continued to carry some of the highest health care costs in the nation...marked pu prices by 210%...CEO Joel Wernick made approximately 50 times the annual salary of the average Albany resident...a cardiac catheter would cost an average of $12,078 at hospitals throughout Georgia, the same procedure at Phoebe Putney would cost $17,737 (47% higher!). Health care costs average about $7,630 per employee...approximately $1.400 higher than in other parts of the country. Procter & Gamble employee health care costs in Albany were almost 62% higher than the Augusta (GA) plant."

The vast majority of people in DOCO are afraid to publically speak out against Phoebe. They have seen what has happened to those who have (not just talking about Rehberg/Bagnato). I'm glad to see some of the respected physicians in town speak up.

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josephwstubbs 2 years, 2 months ago

Phoebe has been successful in a competitive market- why eliminate the competition. Competition can work even when one side acts unlawfully and noncompetively, and citizens still have a choice. Phoebe wants to spread misinformation about national trends in that integration and coordination of services are being promoted and helping to provide better care at reduced cost, but consolidating market power is another thing and the consensus is it causes costs to go up and quality to go down- as does choice. Phoebe keeps talking about the millions they give back, but how about just helping us to save millions- that would spur a lot more growth.

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LikeItIs 2 years, 2 months ago

When I first moved to Albany I was stunned to discover the continued (ab)use of the Certificate of Need program in Georgia, and its blatant misuse by Phoebe and their hacks. In what Universe does permitting a monopoly control costs? I would love to see a ratio of the number of front line care providers (Doctors, Nurses, etc.) to the number of administrators, accountants, and so on. Yes, Phoebe does employ a lot of people, we just have to realize that we all pay for that with higher bills, and higher insurance premiums.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 2 months ago

CON laws are antiquated and proven to drive up costs. And, only in the Universe of Phoebe Putney does permitting a monopoly control costs! Phoebe and other safety net hospitals in Georgia are masters at manipulating the process. For example, for many years, Phoebe did not increase OB pricing. That, of course, gave them the opportunity to say to the Department of Community Health, "...look, there is no need to grant Palmyra a CON...we provide a low cost service..." The very day the administrative law judge ruled in Phoebe's favor, OB pricing doubled.

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art 2 years, 2 months ago

If you have a point to make, do so using facts and argument. To resort to personal comments about physical appearance is extremely small-minded and in very bad taste.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

Wernick is a fat boy too! Birds of a Feather! You prolly thirty pounds over yo self!

OH, and facts are hard to come by when Phoebe is concerned........right?

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art 2 years, 2 months ago

Sister, I usually enjoy your posts, but lately you seem to suffer from diarrhea of the keyboard and constipation of the intellect.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

If you don't enjoy these, then you must be part of the problem!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

Do you have an opinion or any facts to add on this subject? Or are you just a self-appointed critic of people's comments on here? That's all your TWO comments have been. Come on in, the water's fine! YOU weigh in with some facts pertinent to the subject matter! K?

Also, "girth" is a fact.......though some have more than others.

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art 2 years, 2 months ago

You are both missing the point - agree or diagree, make your point, but there is no reason to get personal.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

In this Brave New World of Obammunism..........everything is Personal!!

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Momof3 2 years, 2 months ago

HAHAHAH@ Sister_Ruby..... love it!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

Looks like about 600 pounds of BS!!!!!!!!

Add "art" in there and you're busting up against nearly 900 pounds of BS!!!!!!!!!

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justme 2 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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