Many of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital's former patients are showing up at other Birmingham area hospitals.
UAB Hospital interim CEO Anthony Patterson says there has been a 20 percent jump in their emergency room of uninsured and Medicaid patients. Patterson says the increase is partly because of a misunderstanding over what medical care is available at Cooper Green Mercy Health Services.
"What they have seen is our patients have shown up in their emergency rooms," Tony Petelos, Jefferson County Manager said.
Petelos met with representatives of area Birmingham Hospitals last week. They told the county manager of the increase in emergency room visits by poor patients and many agree it due to a misconception that Cooper Green is closed.
"In the past when we were Cooper Green Hospital, 95 percent of our patients in the emergency room were urgent care. Those patients need to come back to Cooper Green," Petelos said.
Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington said the numbers are other hospitals could be increased because of a spike due to an early flu season but Carrington agrees the county needs to do a better job of communicating what services are available at Cooper Green.
"The number going to urgent care center are fewer than those going to the emergency room. That is concerning and needs to be addressed," Carrington said.
Commissioner Sandra Little Brown blames many of those who opposed the ending of inpatient care at Cooper Green for the misinformation.
"If you have leaders out there saying it's closed it's not fair. It's not fair to commissioners, it's not fair to the community, it's not fair to the people and to the patients," Brown said.
Petelos said the increased media campaign will continue to use radio spots, newspaper and advertising on buses.
Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive