Phoebe North Hospital located on Palmyra Road.
ALBANY, Ga. — The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Federal Trade Commission vs. Phoebe Putney Health System case on Nov. 26, court records show.
The case stems from the FTC's opposition to the purchase of Palmyra Medical Center — now Phoebe North — by the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County, which also has ownership of not-for-profit Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
The high court agreed to hear the case in June after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that the purchase of Palmyra was immune from federal intervention — upholding an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands that exempted the purchase under the State Action Doctrine.
The FTC is arguing that the State Action Doctrine does not shield the transaction because it contends the state of Georgia has not articulated an intent to displace competition in the market for hospital services. It also argues that relevant state law provisions do not suggest any legislative intent to displace competition in the provision of hospital services.
The $195 million purchase went through within a week of the 11th Circuit's ruling. Local officials have since announced plans to convert Phoebe North into a free-standing women's and children's center.
Since the FTC filed its brief on Aug. 20, there have been several amicus briefs filed in connection to the case. The American Antitrust Institute, a group of economics professors, a group of 20 states, the National Federation of Independent Business and Drs. Joseph Stubbs and Corleen Thompson have filed briefs in support of the federal agency's case.
The American Medical Association and the Medical Association of Georgia have filed an amici brief in support of neither party.
The deadline for Phoebe to file its brief is Oct. 1, after which amicus briefs supporting Phoebe and the Hospital Authority's position are likely to be filed.
Jackie Ryan, vice president of corporate strategy at Phoebe, said that officials with the hospital have not received formal notification of the hearing being scheduled, but did anticipate it taking place in November.
Asked to comment, Ryan said that Phoebe would be standing by its previous comments in regard to the case.
Officials with the FTC also declined to comment.