FTC, Phoebe making arguments in appeal

Arguments are being presented in an appeal made by the Federal Trade Commission in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta regarding a June decision dismissing the FTC's claim of jurisdiction over the merger of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Palmyra Medical Center.

Phoebe released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying Thomas Chambless, general counsel for Phoebe, says the organization maintains its position on the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County's right to buy Palmyra without federal intervention.

"For a Georgia hospital authority, acquiring and leasing a hospital is as much an act of governing as is passing an ordnance for a Georgia city council. In both cases, political subdivisions are exercising some delegated component of the total governing powers of the State," Chambless says. "We have argued that point and we are hopeful the 11th Circuit's ruling will be consistent with similar ones it has made in the past, which make it clear that this transaction is beyond the FTC's jurisdiction."

A Public Information Officer with the FTC says they will make a comment about the hearing when a decision is reached.

FOX 31 News will continue to provide updates about this appeal as information is made available.

In December, the Hospital Authority announced that is was purchasing Palmyra and that Phoebe Putney would acquire the property.

In February, the Federal Trade Commission submitted subpeonas and CIDs in connection to their antitrust investigation in to the Phoebe-Palmyra merger.

Federal Court Judge Louis Sands granted a request by the FTC to postpone the merger while they work on their investigation in April, and, in June Sands ruled that Phoebe and the Hospital Authority are immune from antitrust strutiny, dismissing the FTC's case.