A vote by Jefferson County Commissioners Tuesday can drastically impact the future of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital.
Commissioners will vote next Tuesday on whether to shut down inpatient care in 30 days. Commissioners complain that the hospital for the poor has been a drain on Jefferson County taxpayers.
"Financially Cooper Green has impacted our budget by $10 million a year," Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said.
The hospital has been receiving $41 million out of the indigent care fund. Commissioners estimate $15 to $25 million goes to cover inpatient care.
"I've watched the last three months. I don't think Cooper Green management has the will to do the cuts to save Cooper Green," Commissioner Joe Knight said.
Commissioners voted 3-2 to put the item on the agenda next week. Republican commissioners David Carrington, Stephens and Knight voted for the issue. Commissioners George Bowman and Sandra Little Brown voted against it.
So what could happen to those who stay overnight at the hospital?
"Many of those with Medicaid and self pay that will be easily be able to go to other hospitals. We will need to set up an arrangement for those who can not pay to get admittance into other hospitals," Carrington said.
Bowman says this further shows the need to move Cooper Green Mercy Hospital over to the care of a healthcare authority.
"This is wrong. This is so wrong. This is what happens when you get politicians running hospitals. They don't know what they are doing," Bowman said.
Brown has fears about the impact of the closure of the services.
"Shutting down important care is going to be devastating. People are going to be dying in the streets," Brown said.
Bowman and Brown are trying to get one more vote to stop the closure next week. Meanwhile community activists are vowing to take to the streets.
"We are going to protest out in front of their houses every day they want to close Cooper Green down we are going to make their life uncomfortable now," David Russell said.
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