Another public meeting will be held this afternoon about the future of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. This comes as the hospital for the poor continues to be under fire for its financial troubles.
Supporters of Cooper Green are hoping to counter an ongoing attack on the hospital. Jefferson County commissioners have told the hospital to get its financial house in order and to stop asking for millions of taxpayer dollars each year.
Jefferson County will vote to hire a consulting firm next week to look at various options for Cooper Green Hospital. This includes running the hospital as a full service in patient care or turning into a clinic. They will also advise about the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
The big development is that a senior aide for County Commissioner George Bowman asked a committee of the Birmingham City Council to create a healthcare authority and to take over the hospital from the county. Richard Finley says this would not be a major cost for the city. Finley told the committee the hospital's financial problems are caused by indirect charges coming from the county. This includes legal costs, human resources and purchasing for county needs. One county commissioner says the problem is much greater.
"I wish all this county had to do pay was indirect costs. As ya'll heard, the numbers have moved from two to four million dollars. We have put an extra ten million dollars a year. It really hasn't come out of indigent care. We are not at that point," said Commission President David Carrington.
Jefferson County taxpayers have had to cover funding shortfalls not the indigent care fund. This week, Birmingham attorney Emory Anthony told commissioners he believed the county has short changed the hospital about $500-million over five years. It is a charge they deny.
The meeting about Cooper Green is tonight at six o'clock at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Pratt City.
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