Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County Wednesday filed briefs asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a district federal court ruling clearing the way for the Authority's purchase of Palmyra Medical Center.
Federal Judge Louis Sands in June ruled that the Federal Trade Commission's complaint against the acquisition was misplaced, lifting an earlier injunction in the case now being appealed by the FTC.
Tommy Chambless, general counsel for Phoebe, said the briefs put to rest notions that antitrust issues apply. "The Authority's action is in the best interest of the citizens, and they are carrying out their governmental responsibilities as they have for these many decades. The Authority, as a governmental entity, is not subject to FTC intervention," he said.
The brief draws a parallel with other government entities and notes, "For a Georgia hospital authority, acquiring and leasing a hospital is as much an act of governing as is passing an ordinance for a Georgia city council. In both cases, political subdivisions are exercising some delegated component of the total governing powers of the State. "
Joel Wernick, Phoebe president and CEO, said the hospital's position remains unchanged and the FTC's objections do not apply to the Authority which is immune from FTC intervention.
"Now more than ever the national healthcare landscape makes hospital consolidations and regional partnerships a necessary strategy to provide cost effective quality care to citizens," said Wernick. "This transaction is between a willing seller, HCA, and our community's Hospital Authority. We are looking forward to the court's ruling. We believe the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear this transaction is beyond FTC meddling."