Commission passes 2013 budget for general fund, Cooper Green

Commission passes 2013 budget for general fund, Cooper Green

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Jefferson County commissioners passed the 2013 budget for the county's general fund and Cooper Green with a 3-1 vote on Wednesday. Commissioner George Bowman voted against the plan.

County Manager Tony Petelos says it's a balanced budget that will take $15 million from a debt service to pay bankruptcy attorneys.

Commissioner David Carrington said Cooper Green's budget is $65 million. The amount of money for Cooper Green staff dropped from $36 million to $25 million.

Cooper Green had 600 employees in February and currently has a staff around 500. Another 250 Cooper Green employees could lose their jobs, according to Petelos.

Commissioner Bowman says they are executing the "hub and spoke" plan for the mercy hospital.

Several Cooper Green supporters say they have big doubts about the new plan for the hospital and say healthcare for the indigent could be at risk.

"Now you want me to believe that these white men, these white men are concerned about patients of Cooper Green," Maralyn Mosley with the hospital advisory board said.

Mosley believes that cutting the hospital's budget from $90 million and ending inpatient care will put the poor at risk.

"Be you black or white if you are poor they are not concerned about you. You need to understand that. I'm sorry, we are going to die in the street, that is what they want - us to die," Mosley said.

Commission President David Carrington says indigents will receive the care they need.

"I think it's going to be better. We wouldn't move to this new model if we thought it would be the same or worse. It's going to be better," he said.

The county has hired a consultant at a cost of $208,000 to help with the transition to an outpatient operation. The target date for ending inpatient care is Dec. 1 and so far no agreement has been made with other area hospitals to take indigents for inpatient care.

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