August 22, 2013
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Phoebe Putney Health System Announces Settlement with the Federal Trade Commission
Hospital Authority will retain ownership of Palmyra Park Hospital
ALBANY, Ga. -- Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. (Phoebe Putney) today announced it and the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty Countyhave reached a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address issuesstemming from the acquisition of Palmyra Park Hospital, now known as Phoebe north campus. Under the terms of the settlement, the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County will retain ownership of, and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital will continue to operate, the Phoebe north campus.
“We are pleasedwith today’s newsand look forward to a new, exciting era for our hospital, staff, and the patients we’re proud to serve,” said Joel Wernick, president and CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System. “We will soon be able to put this proceeding behind us and move forward with our plans to deliver world-class medical care for women and children, to provide new and expanded in-patient rehabilitation services, and to increase Phoebe’s ability to handle critically injured and ill patients who need intensive care. From the beginning, Phoebe's goal has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay. Our ability to fulfill our mission has been challenged by a need for additional capacity. That is what the transaction has always been about.”
As part of the settlement, Phoebe Putney and the Authority have agreed that for the next 10 years they will not acquire, without prior notification to the FTC, a General Acute Care Hospital, an inpatient or outpatient clinic or facility or a physician group practice of five or more physicians within the six-county region the FTC asserted was relevant (Dougherty, Terrell, Lee, Worth, Baker and Mitchell Counties in Georgia).
Phoebe Putney and the Authority have also agreed that, for the next five years, they will not file any objections with the Georgia Department of Community Health to the issuance of a Certificate of Need (CON) for a new general acute care hospital in the same six-county region. Phoebe and the Authority are not restricted from objecting to CON applications for other projects but have agreed to provide a copy of any such objection to the FTC. Lastly, Phoebe Putney agreed to provide annual reports of its compliance with these provisions, for the next 10 years.
The FTC made no findings that Phoebe Putney or the Hospital Authority committed any violation of the antitrust laws. Instead, solely to achieve a compromise with the FTC, and for purposes of these proceedings only, Phoebe Putney and the Hospital Authority have stipulated that the acquisition of Palmyra might substantially lessen competition within the service and geographic markets alleged by the FTC. The settlement expressly reserves the rights ofPhoebe and the Authority to contest that allegation in any other proceeding. The settlement is expected to become final in about 30 days.
“Today’s settlement means Phoebe Putney will be able to use the Phoebe north campus as planned, to meet current capacity needs and to expand its tradition of high quality health care for our entire community,” continued Wernick. “The citizens of Southwest Georgia are well served by this compromise solution we believe to be in the best interests of all parties. It will also allow us to continue moving forward at a time of great change in our country’s health delivery system.”
Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's goal has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay. Phoebe is nationally recognized for clinical excellence and innovative community health programs.
The FTC posted on its website http://www.ftc.gov/os/adjpro/d9348/index.shtm an announcement that the FTC has entered an order which incorporates settlement terms which the Hospital Authority, Phoebe Boards and the Commission have agreed upon.