Phoebe Putney sets new date for Palmyra purchase

Palmyra will become Phoebe North

There is no information concerning Phoebe Putney Hospital's controversial acquisition of Palmyra Medical Center. Phoebe's President and CEO Joel Wernick now says the sale will be complete on April 14th â" just ten days from today.

Phoebe Putney first announced its intention to purchase Palmyra back in December of last year. Red tape and regulatory concerns held up the deal. But Phoebe officials said today they're confident that Palmyra Medical Center will soon become Phoebe North.

The Albany-Dougherty Hospital Authority Board believes it's in the home stretch of Phoebe Putney's 195 million dollar deal to buy Palmyra Medical Center and proved it on Monday by approving a new closing date. "Most everything that is needed to be done with respect to the closing has now been done," said Phoebe Putney Senior V.P. Tommy Chambless. "We're very close to having everything in place and anticipate that this closing will take place April 14th."

The board also amended Phoebe's current lease agreement to include the assets of Palmyra. "The lease that we've been operating under is about 20-some-odd-years-old and what the action did today was modernizing that," said Phoebe President and CEO Joel Wernick.

Wernick is confident that the April 14th date will hold despite a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the buyout. "We certainly have responded to all the various regulatory requests that have been made by us and for us," he said.

Wernick added that all employees of Palmyra have been alerted to the pending sale. "The staff at the hospital out there has been informed of all our benefits and all of those things so we're eager to move forward," he said.

Officials with Phoebe say the deal to acquire Palmyra has been incredibly complex. They compare it to closing on a new house only with about 100 times the amount of details. "A transaction of this nature can require a great deal of thoroughness," said Wernick. "We've had an excellent team of managers here that have been working on a weekly basis reviewing all the contracts, the various things needed."

"There are people who will be in various stages of healthcare treatment at that moment," added Chambless. "You've got to have the staffing there. You've got to have nurses. The doctors have got to be in place."

Palmyra â" soon to be Phoebe North â" is not Phoebe's only avenue of expansion. Wernick told the board that the Phoebe Sumter project in Americus is on track and will open in December of this year.