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Phoebe/FTC adjudication withdrawal extended to Aug. 22

Phoebe North is now located at the former location of Palmyra Medical Center at 2000 Palmyra Road in Albany.

Phoebe North is now located at the former location of Palmyra Medical Center at 2000 Palmyra Road in Albany.

ALBANY, Ga. —To facilitate the further consideration of a settlement, an order was issued by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday to further extend the withdrawal from adjudication the commission's ongoing case involving the purchase of the former Palmyra Medical Center, now Phoebe North.

The order states that the matter is to remain withdrawn from administrative proceedings until Aug. 22, "at which time it will return to adjudicative status under Part 3 of the Commission Rules of Practice."

An order granting a request to certify a joint motion to withdraw the matter from proceedings was entered into by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell on June 11. On June 24, the FTC issued an order withdrawing the matter for 30 days "for the purpose of considering a Consent Proposal." On July 24, another order was issued extending the withdrawal until Thursday.

An administrative trial had been scheduled initially to begin Monday in regard to the FTC's opposition of the purchase of the former Palmyra by the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County.

A previous stay on administrative proceedings that had been put in place in July 2011 was lifted after a Feb. 19 unanimous ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in the FTC's favor. The high court found that the state action doctrine did not immunize the Palmyra acquisition from federal antitrust laws, prompting renewed motions by the FTC in the case. Those resulted in a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction being issued so the status quo at the hospital would be maintained.

The $195 million purchase went through in December 2011 following a ruling from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed an earlier decision by U.S. District Court Judge Louis Sands found the purchase was immune from federal intervention.

Officials both from the FTC and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital said Thursday afternoon that they would be providing no comment on the most recent development.

The Hospital Authority was next scheduled to meet on Tuesday. A notice Thursday, however, said that meeting had been rescheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 22 in the Willson Board Room at Phoebe's main campus.