The leader of a district in southwest Georgia said the region's largest hospital system had tried to impede plans for a new competitive hospital in their district, but the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany denied do anything wrong.
Lee County leaders have long sought to build a new hospital in their district north of Albany. They got a boost in 2015 when Phoebe Putney joined a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after buying former crosstown competitor Palmyra Park hospital. The federal regulator sued Phoebe Putney for saying that the purchase of Palmyra has unlawfully reduced hospital competition.
Under the terms of the agreement, Phoebe Putney agreed not to object to anyone seeking permission from the state of Georgia to build a new hospital in six counties in and around Albany, including Lee County, for five years. Leaders in Lee County received the certificate needed to build a new $ 124 million hospital in 2017.
Hospitals, though, have yet to be built. In 2019, Lee County won an extension, until August 6, 2021 to complete construction. In May, Lee County applied for a second extension, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected its ability to pursue its plans. Mathis said the county is still trying to negotiate a contract for someone to run the hospital, for which a county entity is said to borrow $ 80 million or more to help finance.
However, several days later, Phoebe Putney filed an objection, saying that Lee County had no legal authority for the extension. Lee …