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Battle over Phoebe North stalling growth

Editorial

Regardless of your opinion of the ongoing battle between Phoebe Putney Health System and the Federal Trade Commission over the fate of Phoebe North (the former Palmyra Medical Center), the uncertainty surrounding the issue is a hindrance to economic development in the metro Albany area.

Business leaders, when making plans for their companies, need to have a solid idea about where things are headed, and health care is one of those critical areas that has to be carefully calculated. That is one of the issues that has come from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Businesses still do not know exactly how they will be affected. Some have taken steps — such as cutting the number of employees and hours worked to fall under thresholds that trigger some aspects of the act — that they otherwise would not have as defensive measures.

The current plans are to convert Phoebe North into a Children’s and Women’s Center, a medical endeavor that would significantly benefit our region. And if Phoebe prevails in the FTC’s challenge to its purchase of Phoebe North on the behalf of the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County, the U.S. District Court injunction given to the FTC last week to enforce a “status quo” situation at Phoebe North will delay that project at minimum three months. That, in turn, will impact and delay other projects the hospital is planning.

We don’t know what will happen down the road. Hospital Corporation of America has its money for the former Palmyra hospital and has left town. If an FTC administrative judge rules that the Phoebe North property must be sold, there’s no guarantee that another medical company will acquire it with the intentions of operating a full-service hospital.

It just makes sense for the community to have a resolution to this and to get the federal government out of it. Phoebe is a key economic driver in the greater Albany area, one that provides thousands of jobs. Metro Albany is desperate for economic growth and Phoebe is a primary driver of the local economy.

The sooner this situation is resolved, the better for everyone. Rather than spending millions of dollars on attorneys fighting federal government agencies, the region, which is lagging in the nation’s recovery from the recession, needs for Phoebe to focus on creating growth in the metro Albany area.

Comments

SlingShot 1 year, 2 months ago

While I understand you comments, why is there no mention of the two large medical groups that are looking at the facilities.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Are you saying that two other business entities are looking at the former Palmyra HCA facility as a possible purchase?

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chinaberry25 1 year, 2 months ago

Now that would really seal the cake.

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Trustbuster 1 year, 2 months ago

We should go ahead and expedite the judicial process. I believe a jury trial should be the determining factor.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 2 months ago

If I remember correctly, when Palmyra wanted to do this, Phoebe said we did not need it. Not it is a different showboat.

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factoidredux 1 year, 2 months ago

The editorial statement that the current uncertainty of the Phoebe vs FTC issue is a hindrance to our economy is unsubstantiated and likely false. Were it not for the FTC's action, Albany would be doomed to high health care costs and poor quality because of the monopoly PHoebe would enjoy- that truly would be a hindrance to our economy.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 2 months ago

The uncertainty surrounding the fate of Phoebe North is a hindrance to economic development in the metro Albany area. OYES that is the problem, surely it has nothing to do with the available work force or their education or even the Leadership of the Albany and DOCO Commissioners. The driving forces of economic development are avoiding Albany because we don't have a Mega Hospital with rates higher than the national average. Yep that's got to be the reason.

Sounds like someone besides me grew up working at the Gillionville Stockyard. Flash backs of shoveling comes to mind.

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Cartman 1 year, 2 months ago

High medical costs, not lack of Phoebe expansion, is what is hindering growth.

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dingleberry 1 year, 2 months ago

The uncertainties of Obamacare far outshadow uncertainties of the impact of the Phoebe transaction on local growth. The concerns over medical care costs locally are unchanged. Local growth is perhaps much more impacted by the sad state of the educational system, the crime rate, the high property tax rate, and the overall impact of the local poverty/welfare system . What are the reasons commercial activities would want to come to DoCo when other locations have more positives and higher quality of life?

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