Why is it that everything being broadcast regarding the sale of Palmyra to Phoebe is being seen through rose colored glasses? It’s not all rainbows and unicorns; not by a long shot. There are people that will lose their jobs; there’s a community that will lose their choice. And there’s a transaction being processed that should never have been allowed to happen.
In the Albany/Leesburg area, there are more than enough people for both hospitals to thrive and to allow the residents to have an option about their healthcare. The fact that the court ruled in favor of this sale is unsettling, allowing the Phoebe Putney Empire to corner the market in hospital care. There was no need for this sale to take place. Phoebe’s daily services shadow those of Palmyra, so how is it they were deemed ‘the competition’? It feels more like Phoebe was tired of swatting at the gnat that was buzzing around and just wanted to squash it. And they just got handed a swatter.
The blame doesn’t fall just on the shoulders of Phoebe’s executive officers. It also belongs to HCA. Phoebe made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, and they didn’t. I suppose I would want to sell a truck worth $1.000.00 for $10,000.00, too, but this sale isn’t about a truck. It’s about a hospital, and the outcome will affect the livelihood of many people and the community.
And how will this sale better our community? It’s no secret that Palmyra needs a facelift and they’re not as advanced as Phoebe, and there will be good things that come out of the takeover. Palmyra employees that are allowed to transition to Phoebe will be taken care of with great benefits, company perks and will continue to receive a paycheck. The existing Palmyra buildings will surely undergo extensive remodeling and upgrades, making them shiny and new again. But what happens to the people that aren’t welcome with open arms? The HCA employees who no longer have a facility within a 90 mile radius at which to work? The contract workers who are no longer necessary? The blacklisted ‘do not hire/rehire’ folks that are left wondering “where now?”? With Phoebe being in control of most all medical facilities in all of Southwest GA, where do these people go to make a living within their field?
In an already failing economy with an all-time high unemployment rate, did we deserve to have another business rug pulled out from under Albany’s feet? As of Oct. 2011, the U.S. Dept of Labor shows that our unemployment rate is 10.4. TEN POINT FOUR. Our population has declined over the last 10 years, and let’s not forgets about our crime rate. Albany, GA has one of the highest crime rates in all of the U.S., and chances of being a victim, of either violent or property crime, is 1 in 13. In what way will the sale of Palmyra to Phoebe help our community better itself?
It seems this transaction is just a sale of bricks & mortar between two businesses that are playing a real life game of Monopoly. Robotic corporate moves on their greedy board, with no regard for anyone else. With the holidays so near, a more fitting comparison would make Palmyra the Bailey Building & Loan about to become part of Pottersville.
A fond thank you and hearty good luck to all of the Palmyra associates who will be without a job or to those whose fate will be determined in the months to come. You have served your community well, are respected & loved, and will be dearly missed.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter. You seem to have changed the script in our movie.
MaryAnn Crawley is a contract employee at the former Palmyra Medical Center.