Attorney General Approves Lease Agreement between Hospital Authority and Phoebe Dorminy Medical Center

The office of the Georgia Attorney General has given its blessing to the proposed lease agreement between the Hospital Authority of Ben Hill County and Phoebe Dorminy Medical Center, which will make the Fitzgerald hospital a part of Phoebe Putney Health System.

The Authority and Dorminy Medical Center last year decided to partner with Phoebe Putney Health System after holding discussions with several hospital organizations.

Warren Manley, Dorminy CEO, said the approval clears the way for the final steps of the transition. "We are confident the partnership with Phoebe will enhance the healthcare options for the residents of Ben Hill County and surrounding area right here at home," he said. "Our residents will have greater access to services, specialists and the latest technologies."

The Attorney General approved the structure of a long-term lease, in which the Authority will continue to own assets and lease them to Phoebe Dorminy Medical Center, a subsidiary of Phoebe Putney Health System. Following a months-long examination, the Attorney General found that the value of the hospital's charitable assets is safeguarded under the lease agreement and that all appropriate conditions and requirements of the law have been met.

Joel Wernick, Phoebe President/CEO, said today's healthcare challenges require innovative partnerships that define care delivery for patients and families.

"Phoebe has long worked to stabilize access to primary care in our region," said Wernick. "This partnership is a prime example of how that works best for all parties, and most especially, for the citizens we serve. We are looking forward to ramping up new and valuable healthcare options for the Fitzgerald service area."

Dorminy officials said additional benefits of the partnership include enhanced quality of care, expanded clinical services and improved financial position through shared purchasing and access to capital and system resources.

Manley said the management arrangement with Phoebe has helped to bring in new specialists in recent months, including a cancer clinic and obstetrics. "This is just a beginning. We believe the benefits will accrue each day to bring the best care possible to the patients we serve," he said.