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Phoebe’s Financial Outlook Improves, Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic

Albany, Ga. – Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s (PPMH) A1 bond rating and revised the health system’s financial outlook from negative to stable.  During their monthly meeting Wednesday, the hospital’s board of directors reviewed the Moody’s report that states, “The A1 reflects expectations that PPHS (Phoebe Putney Health System) should be able to return to the financial momentum demonstrated through mid-2020 prior to coronavirus.”  The experts at Moody’s say the stable outlook represents expectations that PPHS will show financial stability as COVID-19 cases continue to decline.

“This has certainly been a challenging year for hospitals across this country, including Phoebe.  Moody’s A1 rating with a stable outlook for Phoebe is validation of the incredible work the entire Phoebe Family has done during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have spared no expense to ensure our caregivers have all the necessary resources and personal protective equipment required to safely provide care to our COVID-19 patients, and we have not laid off or furloughed a single employee.  Still, we have managed to operate efficiently, and our teams quickly and safely brought services back on line following the peak of our COVID-19 fight, providing the quality care the people of southwest Georgia need,” said Brian Church, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Financial Officer. 

PPMH Chief Executive Officer Joe Austin told board members services that were curtailed at the height of COVID-19 continue a strong resurgence.  “We continue to normalize operations, and many of our service areas are coming back strong.  The hospital is open and ready to go, and we are getting very busy.  Our community is really coming back to us,” Austin said.  He added capital projects that will benefit patients continue to move forward.  Those projects include an additional trauma room in the emergency center, design planning for a new emergency center, upgrading an operating suite to a state-of-the-art hybrid OR and construction of a new vascular surgery center that will begin later this year.

PPHS Chief Executive Officer Scott Steiner thanked state legislators for their work during the recently concluded General Assembly session that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Those are difficult jobs, and in a year like this, it makes it that much more challenging.  The good news from a healthcare perspective is the Medicaid system was left mostly intact.  The legislature also added $2.5 million for 133 new residency slots as the legislature continues to acknowledge the need for more physicians in our state,” Steiner said.

Other healthcare legislation passed during the General Assembly session included pharmacy benefit manager enhancements for consumers as well as a bill providing transparency to patients about healthcare providers and how to avoid surprise billing.

Steiner also announced the formation of the Phoebe Ready Team that will take a deep dive into lessons learned during Phoebe’s COVID-19 response and make recommendations to ensure the system is better prepared to deal with a pandemic in the future.