Jefferson County officials say no one will be put at risk during the transition away from inpatient care at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital but some patients are concerned.
April Conwell cut a tendon in her arm and needed emergency surgery last week. Conwell says she was turned away from one area hospital.
"They told me they couldn't perform the surgery because we have no insurance. They turned me away and gave the Cooper Green number," Conwell said.
Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos says no will be dying in the streets of Jefferson County despite what critics of the transition say. Petelos says other hospitals will agree to take those patients.
"The dollars that normally go to take care of the patient whether it's indigent patients, Medicaid dollars or Medicare dollars will follow those patients to hospital," Petelos said.
So far only UAB has agreed to take Cooper Green patients but Petelos says other hospitals will be on board by Jan. 1, 2013. Some Cooper Green patients aren't sure of their healthcare needs will be met.
"If you believe that. That is a joke," Larry West said.
Birmingham Rep. John Rogers is also wary of the transition.
"We gave them a plan of action. Downsize to 101 beds hospital. Sell to a healthcare authority. Sell the hospital down here for one dollar. Get out of the business," Rogers said.
The first step for Jefferson County is sending out 40,000 letters to Cooper Green Mercy Hospital patients telling them of the future of the hospital and the future of taking care of their medical needs.
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