City of Birmingham files a lawsuit against County Commission - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

City of Birmingham files a lawsuit against County Commission

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

The city of Birmingham and Mayor William Bell are joining the fight to save Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. Friday, Bell filed a lawsuit against the Jefferson County Commission to stop them from closing the indigent care hospital.

This all started at Tuesday's commission committee meeting. It took a vote to close the inpatient care portion of Cooper Green within 30 days. The aim was to transfer inpatient health care to other hospitals but the lawsuit claims that deal hasn't been set and the concern is that indigent care patients will have no place to go.

The city states in the lawsuit that the county put no plan in place to deal with Medicare, Medicaid, and indigent patients violating the Alabama Healthcare Responsibility Act. 

It says, 60 percent of Cooper Green patients are Birmingham residents and closing inpatient care would do irreparable damage impacting the "general health, safety, and welfare of all the citizens of the city of Birmingham." The lawsuit calls for a judge to stop the commission from shutting it down.

This week, Governor Bentley told ABC 33/40 he has always been a supporter of Cooper Green and hopes it will expand.

"A healthcare authority is something that I know that we have looked at, I don't have any plans right now to call a special session  dealing with the healthcare authority, but I am a very strong supporter of Cooper Green," Governor Robert Bentley, (R) said. "I always have been. I am a strong supporter of the training program that  takes place over there. I wish we could upgrade Cooper Green and have more patient care there."

Jefferson County Manager, Tony Petelos said tight finances are leaving commissioners with tough decisions.

"We did not get a legislative fix in Montgomery this time and we lost the occupation tax a year ago and we are having to downsize," County Manager, Tony Petelos said. "The commissioners instructed us, my office, and the Cooper Green Hospital that they will have to live within their budget. So we are in the process of downsizing the operations at Cooper Green now."