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      Phoebe responds to criticism

      One day after Phoebe Putney bought itself an early Christmas present, hospital board members endorsed the move to buy Palmyra Medical Center.

      Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick also used the meeting to address some of the concerns surrounding the $195 million purchase.

      I've always been a 'glass is half full' kind of a person, and although i am certainly aware that people have their opinions, I TMd like to think that some of those opinions aren't based on a full amount of information,

      Information and speculation like whether or not Phoebe will continue to pay taxes on the property Palmyra sits on.

      Our commitment is actually a commitment that actually extends beyond the first year and it's our goal to sit down with the county and work through actually a voluntary payment which actually encompasses not just Palmyra but all of our properties, so let me just put this issue to bed with the tax payers so that they feel comfortable and confident about that, said Wernick.

      Or if the buyout means less medical care options for Southwest Georgians

      If somebody is just hard set that they need a choice between one or the other, there is probably nothing that we can do to convince them otherwise, but on the other hand I see that thousands and thousands of patients that are being treated ever day by our great caregivers that have incredibly positive feelings about our organization, said Wernick.

      Wernick also disputes Phoebe's reputation as being the more expensive hospital.

      Historically, our prices have always been less than theirs, so from that perspective we actually think as we re-price we think that our prices will actually be less than theirs, said Wernick.

      Much of the anxiety is currently coming from people who currently work at Palmyra. But Wernick says most of the jobs are going to be kept and that workers should have little to worry about this holiday season.

      We know that any change, especially one of this magnitude can create anxiety. Hopefully with your help we can get the message out to all of our future phoebe family members over at Palmyra that things are going to be okay, said Wernick.

      Phoebe even brought out former Palmyra workers who now work at Phoebe to talk about their pleasure of working at the hospital.

      I know there is anxiety, I know there is fear, but our mission and our purpose is going to be focused on nothing but making health care access and availability and quality all that better, said Todd Braswell.

      Since my husband works there my initial reaction was I was very nervous and scared, we have two new babies. So my first initial reaction was I hope he doesn't lose his job. After the day went on and after the press conference and everything, we were both I think relieved and a little at ease and I think this is a good smooth transition and it's going to be for the best, said Kelley Parrish.