Updated 2/27/12 3:00 p.m.
Dougherty County Commissioner Jon Hayes says he was "surprised" and "disappointed" when he heard the news of the FTC's challenge of the Phoebe-Palmyra merger.
Hayes says the challenge is both unnecessary and wastes taxpayer's money.
"Those things begin to cause you to ponder and to wonder why, you know, what's really taking place here and does it all make sense?" says Hayes.
The following is a response from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital to the FTC's challenge:
"The FTC's intent to challenge again the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is misguided and wrong. We are frankly stunned by the FTC's continued assault on the Hospital Authority, which has diligently and correctly carried out its responsibility in this matter to the benefit of the citizens of Dougherty County. In this transaction, the Authority has exercised the right of the local community to make decisions about local assets. There is no legal or factual information to support the FTC's actions and no rationale to explain its apparent desire to centralize control of local healthcare resources."
Hospital officials say they will continue transition and facility planning for Phoebe North, formerly Palmyra Medical Center.
The Authority and Phoebe Putney Health System will move forward with the consolidation of hospitals in Albany. As stewards of the community's medical resources, the Authority made a prudent and logical decision in purchasing Palmyra Medical Center, now Phoebe North.
The following is information from a press release regarding the FTC taking the Phoebe-Palmyra merger to the U.S. Supreme Court:
The Hospital Authority of Albany and Dougherty County and Phoebe Putney Health System have learned the Federal Trade Commission will continue its challenge of the Authority's purchase of Palmyra Medical Center. The Solicitor General on behalf of the FTC has asked for an extension of the deadline to seek the Supreme Court's review of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which cleared the way for the transaction to occur in December
"We are stunned and disturbed by this most recent development," said Ralph Rosenberg, Authority chairman. "The Authority has acted in the best interest of the citizens of this area and has exercised its right to make decisions concerning local health care for our community. The FTC is showing a total disregard for two federal court decisions that found in favor of the Authority's purchase of Palmyra Medical Center. The FTC continues to waste taxpayers' money and our community's money to challenge an already decided case, which has been confirmed by appeal."
Authority and Phoebe officials said the FTC's intent to seek review from the Supreme Court is baseless.
"There is no legal or factual information to support the FTC's actions and no rationale to explain its apparent desire to centralize control of local healthcare resources," says Joel Wernick, Phoebe president and CEO.
Wernick and Rosenberg says they will not alter plans for the consolidation of the hospitals.
"We will not be distracted," said Wernick. "The Authority's purchase is well founded in fact and has been made in the best interest of the patients we serve. We have worked diligently in bringing these two facilities together over the past several months. The support from our employees throughout the organization and from people throughout our community has been uplifting. We are moving forward in creating an exceptional model of healthcare delivery."