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Squawk of the Day - May 25, 2012

"What would make a group of local physicians want to stop our successful community hospital from expanding? Do they have another group lined up to step in, and will this group serve all of our citizens or be for-profit only, like HCA was?"

For more squawks, pick up a copy of today's Albany Herald.

To submit a squawk, Click here.

Comments

Shinedownfan 1 year, 10 months ago

This squawker has GOT to be an employee of Phoebe. I can only hope that he/she has to have a procedure done at Phoebe, and it cost 5 times more than it does anywhere else, their insurance won't pay for the extra costs and they, themselves have to foot the bill! Then maybe they will begin to understand what the rest of Albany is worried about.

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Susan123 1 year, 10 months ago

I disagree with your comment. I had a procedure done at Phoebe. Had my gallbladder removed. I do have Insurance. When I received my bill from Phoebe the original amount was over $12000.00. My insurance company paid every single dime after my deductible.

A few years ago, my husbands father was diagnosed with cancer. The hospital in Cordele missed it. They said there was nothing wrong with him. He knew there was. We then took him to Emory in Atlanta. They said he had a brain tumor but it wasn't life threatening. And he will live for many years. That was in November. We took him to the Phoebe Emergency Room very early in the morning the day after Christmas because he was in such pain. He was admitted immediately and they found that he not only had a brain tumor, but also had cancer in his back and lungs. He was in Phoebe for about 2 weeks. They took great care of him. He was feeling good while he was there, laughing with the nurses, talking to people. He hadn't been like that for a while. But they couldn't save him. The cancer had gotten too bad. The other 2 hospitals misdiagnosed him. He died that February. I firmly believe that if we had taken him to Phoebe from the start, he may have lived a little bit longer and got to spend more time with his 2 sons and grandson.

So say what you want, but Phoebe has always been there for me and I have nothing but respect for them. I don't like their hospital in Sylvester, but the one in Albany will always have my business. And, no, I am not an employee. I am not the squawker either.

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Susan123 1 year, 10 months ago

What don't you believe exactly??

That I had my gall bladder removed? I've got the scars to prove it. That the original amount was over $12000? I've got the bill to prove it. That my insurance paid every dime after my deductible? I've got the EOB to prove it. That my father-in-law went to Crisp Regional and was told he was fine? Got the bill for that too. That we took him to Emory? Also got the bill for that and the letter stating that his tumor was not life threatening. That we went to Phoebe? Got all the information for that too. That during his stay at Phoebe he looked healthier and happier than he had in a long time? I don't have any proof of that, just memories of his smiles. That he died only 3 months after being told that he would live for years by the Emory doctor? I can show you his grave. He was only 53 years old.

I don't really care if you believe me.

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bubbavet 1 year, 10 months ago

I have been on both sides. Insurance and no insurance. Unless you have been there you have no room to complain. I owed phoebe almost half a million dollars with no insurance and could have lost everything I had. Phoebe was wonderful and thank God I don't owe them a dime. Thank God for Phoebe Putney.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

So who paid your bills? Other "patients"?

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 10 months ago

here, here, Sister, I wanna know who paid it too!

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 10 months ago

Okay, I have one for you, my brother was diagnosed with cancer in his tonsil. They gave him strong treatments (since he was so young) which worked and the cancer was gone. He kept telling them for the next year that he was sore and that his body hurt. They told him it was cause he was coming off the pain meds, blah blah, blah. He went to his general practioner who took X-rays and saw that there were holes in his bones. The cancer ran from his tonsil into his bones and it was at stage 4! They gave him 6 to 9 months to live. 6 months later he was dead at the age of 43. I blame phoebe and their doctors for that. For every good story about phoebe, there are prolly 4 bad stories about them.

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beartrap 1 year, 10 months ago

Phoebe has got as close to a license to steal as it is possible to get....they deal in a service that everyone has to have and we all are paying for their wasteful extravagances....the board is nothing more than hired "yes men"....

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chinaberry25 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh now they are the great white father!! How many lawsuits did Phoebe file to stop Palmyra from delivering babies? Now the shoe is on the other foot. Whether Phoebe is successful or not is moot. They pay no taxes and are given money by counties to treat indigents. How could yo lose money with those odds. Let them pay taxes before they are allowed to expand. At least on the new portions they want to add to their coffers. We have enough free loaders in this part of Georgia.

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LieDetector00 1 year, 10 months ago

This Squawker must be a direct descendant of Joel Wernick. And that's about all I have to say about THAT.

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Outtahere 1 year, 10 months ago

Hey Squaker - Try harder next time; this effort was insufficient!

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stredr357 1 year, 10 months ago

Non-Profit? Have you forgotten the untold millions that Phoebe siphioned off to the Caymen Islands? Or all the extravigant trips by their exectutives and their spouses? How about the Herald reported who broke the story being conviently hired by Phoebe during that time? Was she bought to silence her? NON-PROFIT MY BUTT!

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VSU 1 year, 10 months ago

I wish I could run a non profit business and have enough money to buy everything in sight. Not that I would buy everything, but would be nice to have the money to do so.

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Cartman 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm not sure I agree. Your post remains.

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 10 months ago

Everytime I saw one of your posts deleted, I always thought you used cuss words or something. Now I know it was about Phoebe. Thanks for clearing that up.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

Phoebe is the only "non-profit" in the world that makes hundreds of millions in tax-free profit each and every year. It does not pass the "sniff test".

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LieDetector00 1 year, 10 months ago

No, Sister...it certainly does not pass the sniff test. Truth be told, the whole affair smells like a chicken coop on a sweltering day in June.

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Mr_Heatmiser 1 year, 10 months ago

Ever hear of United Way? Unicef? The American Red Cross? And as far as hospitals are concerned, Phoebe is not the only hospital that shows a profit every year. Far from it.

The term "non-profit" only means that the organization cannot pay dividends to an individual shareholder or owner. Its excess earnings must be used to further its stated exempt purpose. If it uses excess earnings for a non-exempt purpose, it must pay taxes on that money. Any non-profit organization, just like any other business, that does NOT make a profit is eventually going to either have to scale back their operations or they are going to go out of business.

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FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

I have no insurance and make to much money to qualify for the "Phoebe Care" card. I dont qualify for medicaid for the same reason. I have not been to a doctor in more than two years despite having several health issues that need attention.. On the news last night was a gentleman who was charged $4,000 to remove a staple from his finger. What the hell am I (and the hundreds of people in this area just like me)supposed to do? I simply cannot afford to go to Phoebe and get the treatment I really need....and I can't afford to travel for the medical treatment.

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Mr_Heatmiser 1 year, 10 months ago

You don't have health insurance for some reason, yet you make too much money to qualify for assistance, but you can't afford to drive 90 miles in any direction you choose in order to reach a non-Phoebe hospital.

Makes sense to me.

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 10 months ago

Archbold in Thomasville is only 60 miles away. I have always thought, if I get very sick, I'll have to do my best to go there.

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Cartman 1 year, 10 months ago

Archbold beats Phoebe any day of the week. Columbus has several choices as well. Hughston will fix up about anything you've gotten messed up in Albany. St. Francis is wonderful. If it's a non-emergency, you are noticeably better off heading out of the Phoebe Empire. As Heatmeister points out, its just a short trip out. Don't think you have to use Phoebe facilities, just because you reside here. I think some of the local industry and insurers ought to look at paying financial incentive to those who are willing to drive to obtain more realistically priced care.

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Cartman 1 year, 10 months ago

The squawker says "for profit" inferring a higher cost than a "non profit" like Phoebe. There's the rub. Phoebe is a non-profit, but charges are extraordinarily higher than a "for profit" hospital.
Someone please explain a few things to me:
The HA bought the property from HCA?
If so, who negotiated the sales price? I was under the impression that Phoebe negotiated the price with HCA. How can Phoebe negotiate a deal for someone else? A "public" someone else.
Did us taxpayers grossly overpay HCA? I thought it was worth substantially less than $195m.
Was there a public hearing prior to the purchase?
It is paid for with bonds? Was there a public hearing prior to the issuance of the bonds?
If the HA owns the property, then under what authority did Joel Wernick agree to pay the equivalent in property taxes that HCA paid?
And where will this property tax money come from?
Are will still operating under the fiction that the HA actually has a decision to make, regarding to whom it will lease OUR property?
This charade is ridiculous. We need honesty and leadership in our county.

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AnotherMom 1 year, 10 months ago

I have had good service at Phoebe over the years for the most part. However, I think they are way overpriced. It shouldn't have cost $12,000 to have a gallbladder removed. The fact that your insurance company paid it in full less your deductible is great for you. However, this is one of the main reasons insurance is so high - because healthcare costs have skyrocketed through the roof.

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AnotherMom 1 year, 10 months ago

Mr. Heatmiser - There are several reasons a person may not have insurance. Their employer may not offer it or they may not make enough money to pay for it. Just because they don't qualify for the Phoebe card doesn't mean they make a lot of money. The cut off is very low. And if they did drive 90 miles in any direction to another facility, they most likely wouldn't be seen because they don't have insurance. I work and have insurance, but am very limited as to when I can see a doctor or buy medication because of the high deductible and the out-of-pocket expenses.

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Mr_Heatmiser 1 year, 10 months ago

I understand all of that, but my point was that FlunkyMonkey seems to be blaming Phoebe for being too expensive, but his "too expensive" threshold is somewhere around the price of half of a tank of gas.

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FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank you AnotherMom for your comments. 21 months ago, my husband suffered a stroke which left him disabled. I had to choose between my health insurance and my home because I could not afford to pay for both. I elected to keep a roof over my disabled husband's head. Also, AnotherMom, you are correct. Regardless of where I go for treatment, PAYMENT is still required. Also, doctors in Albany DEMAND payment up front before they treat you. Mr. Heatmiser, since you do not pay my bills, and I do not get food stamps, medicaid or other public assistance, GET OF YOUR SANCTIMONIOUS HIGH HORSE and quit judging me. All I want from Phoebe is a level playing field and health care that I can afford.

as an afterthought MR.. HEATMISER, SCREW YOU--I hope you find yourself in my position one day, and someone treats you like you are a piece of s** because you want to be able to go to a doctor and find out why you are having trouble breathing, or your chest hurts, or the lump in your breast is nothing serious or the pain in your side that causes you to gasp in pain is not cancer.

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Mr_Heatmiser 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm just judging your nonsensical post. You complain about Phoebe being evil because they're too expensive, while at the same time saying that EVERYWHERE ELSE is too expensive as well. That's Phoebe's fault?

There are free clinics in just about every county in this state. See a doctor there if you can't afford anything else.

I happen to know for a fact that Phoebe will work with people to make payment arrangements for their treatment, and I know for a fact that they will write off treatment for those who are in need. I honestly wonder sometimes if some of you people have ever actually seen the inside Phoebe or if you just form your opinions from the squawkbox.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

I hope these pro-Phoebe posters are on the clock so they get paid to post just like the hundreds of Phoebe employees did at the meeting yesterday to fill up all the seats and dominate the microphone. Obviously "money is no object" when trying to take over the world, hey why not?

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daisymae 1 year, 10 months ago

I have had mammograms at both hospitals in the past; Phoebe was nearly $1,000 and Palmyra was only $300...now you tell me which hospital is Non Profit. Mr. Joel can blow smoke all he wants about the cost NOT going up and he just needs to understand the citizens of Albany are not a bunch of idiots. When they take over Palmyra we will have to pay whatever they want to charge. An insurance company, phone company or any other business can not be the only game in town because it forms a monopoly BUT Phoebe can own both hospitals and it is not considered a monopoly...Wrong !! Doctors are leaving Albany because they are tired of being under Phoebe's thumb.

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scooby62 1 year, 10 months ago

For anyone that has lived in Albany for any length of time(before their 6 floor expansion),they remember Phoebe as a small hospital. I, for one, think it was much better when it was small. When they got bigger, they got worse. Now, all they care about is money instead of personal care.

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