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Phoebe Maintains Strong Bond Rating And Expands Community Benefit

Albany, GA | Dec. 13, 2021 – The world’s two leading bond rating agencies have affirmed Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (PPMH) is on strong financial footing, despite unprecedented stress on hospitals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting labor shortages and increasing costs for supplies, drugs and labor.  Moody’s Investors Service affirmed PPMH’s A1 rating and listed its outlook as “stable.”  The hospital’s rating with Standard & Poor’s will also remain A+ with a stable outlook.

“By maintaining excellent credit ratings, we can secure the lowest possible interest rates on debt which can result in millions of dollars in savings that we are able to invest in programs, services and facilities to better serve our patients,” said Brian Church, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Financial Officer.  “The independent experts who determine bond ratings praised Phoebe’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and complimented operational improvements our outstanding team members are implementing as we plan and operate during an industry-changing pandemic.”

Service to the community reports recently reviewed and approved by the PPMH Board of Directors show the hospital provided $33 million of indigent and charity care during fiscal year 2021 and an additional $6 million in community benefit through programs ranging from school nurses and a community garden to cancer screenings and free prescription medication for uninsured and indigent patients.

“We take our responsibility to the communities we serve seriously and continually look for innovative ways to support health and wellness and help make southwest Georgia a better place to live and work,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.

Phoebe has increased its investment in workforce development by hiring three new clinical instructors to work with nursing students in the Phoebe Simulation & Innovation Center and by funding new nurse faculty positions at area colleges to help them graduate more nurses.  “Phoebe has taken a leading role in addressing Georgia’s critical nursing shortage.  We know increasing the number of nursing students at southwest Georgia colleges today provides more nurses to care for our patients in the near future.  It’s a smart investment that enhances educational opportunities in southwest Georgia, while also helping Phoebe serve our patients well,” said Evelyn Olenick, DNP, PPMH Chief Nursing Officer.

In fiscal year 2021, Phoebe also invested significant resources to protect people from hospitalization and serious illness from COVID-19.  Phoebe employees worked more than 7,200 hours to operate a mass vaccination site in Albany that administered tens of thousands of doses of the vaccine.  The hospital also operated one of the state’s most successful monoclonal antibody infusion programs.  “You would be hard-pressed to find a hospital that committed more of its resources to these programs that truly saved lives.  We knew our community needed us, and we were proud to step up and provide these services,” said Joe Austin, PPMH CEO.

Recently, Phoebe also expanded its financial assistance policy to provide more financial support in the community.  Families with a household income up to 200% of the federal poverty level can qualify for full indigent or charity care.  Financial assistance support has been broadened for those with income up to 400% of the poverty level, and they can apply for that assistance for a full year after receiving their first statement.  “Our financial assistance policy is among the most comprehensive available in the state of Georgia.  We encourage our patients to take advantage of this financial support, and we are happy to work with them to make sure they receive all the benefit for which they qualify,” Church said.

Patients with financial assistance questions should call the Phoebe Financial Counseling Department at 229-312-4220.

“Phoebe is thankful for the support the community has provided our Phoebe Family during some of the most difficult challenges we have faced together,” Austin said.  “Phoebe is honored to serve southwest Georgia with the goal to make every life we touch better.”