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      Phoebe Putney talks hospital finances

      Employees of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital were updated on the hospital's finances during two different meetings on Wednesday.

      An audit was performed on last year's financial statements during a Finance Committee morning meeting. An independent auditing company presented the findings which include a $38.6 million investment in property, plant and equipment and a $130 million investment in community benefits.

      While the report came back without findings, Chief Operating Officer Joe Austin says there are always areas they want to work on including operating costs. Austin says as long as the service and quality of care is good, patients don't mind what company provided the resources such as a 4-by-4 piece of wood.

      The Finance Committee approved the audit to allow it to be presented during the full Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County meeting immediately after.

      During the meeting, the board was also informed and asked to vote on a new way of hospital bond issuing.

      "One of the ways to pay for a hospital is taking out long term debt -- much like taking out a mortgage on a house," says President Joel Wernick.

      Wernick says this proposal will refinance the debts that are currently taken out to create new ones with more favorable interest rates that are available today.

      Once the new bonds are created, they'll be available for sale to the public who can opt to own a piece of the debt at a fixed rate, which varies depending on the maturity of the bond itself.

      The board voted in favor of the refinancing and in doing so resumed responsibility of repaying the bonds over a 30-year period. Tomorrow a similar action will be brought forth at the Hospital Authority Board meeting for their consideration.