Does hospital authority have much? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Does hospital authority have much?

Dr. Price Corr, General Surgeon Dr. Price Corr, General Surgeon
Dr. Corr speaks to commissioners Dr. Corr speaks to commissioners
Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard
Phoebe Putney has been found to be one of the 25 worst hospitals,"  said Hope Campbell Phoebe Putney has been found to be one of the 25 worst hospitals," said Hope Campbell
Phoebe president and CEO Joel Wernick Phoebe president and CEO Joel Wernick
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Critics accuse Dougherty County commissioners of appointing rubber-stampers to the Hospital Authority, causing us to pay more for health care.     

They say that authority is supposed to oversee Phoebe Putney Hospital, but instead does whatever Phoebe leaders want. But leaders say the allegations simply aren't true.       

Some residents say Phoebe Putney health system may not be giving patients the care they need.   "They do a lot of good for this community, there's no question that they do.  But in the end, their primary interest is their hospital.  It's not the community as a whole,"  said Dr. Price Corr, General Surgeon.  

Corr and several other people voiced disapproval with county commissioners' recent appointments to the Hospital Authority.  They say the authority allows Phoebe to do whatever it wants.   

"Unfortunately, the hospital authority has become just like another board of Phoebe Putney.  It listens to what Phoebe Putney tells them and it, as the old fella' says, it drinks the Kool-Aid," said  Corr.   

Rising health care costs are top concerns in what they describe as Phoebe's monopoly following its buyout of Palmyra hospital.    "Our prices are the highest in the state of Georgia.  Our insurance premiums are the highest in the state of Georgia, Phoebe Putney has been found to be one of the 25 worst hospitals in the United States for patient care,"  said Hope Campbell, a Concerned Citizen.   

But commissioner John Hayes, who serves on the Hospital Authority, wasn't convinced.     "Some of your concerns while are valid, I think does require a bit more study."    Hayes said hospital business is conducted in public meetings.

But Corr, whose application for the vacant board seat was denied, claims decisions are often made behind closed doors.  "So if you go as a concerned citizen, you're not gonna see what happens.  You're gonna see the introductory part and the first part of it."  

Commissioners say hospital authority members are qualified to manage the region's need.   "The health care scenario in our county and our stat and our county are very, very difficult.  And we're gonna have to continue to work on all these challenges," said  Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

Our WALB reached out to Phoebe's president and CEO Joel Wernick, but he was not made available for comment. Commissioners say they will continue to evaluate appointments to the authority. Those critics say they just want a hospital authority that will act in the community's interest.

 

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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