Patients plead with commission to "Have Mercy" on Cooper Green - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Patients plead with commission to "Have Mercy" on Cooper Green

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

"Cooper Green takes care of the patients and we want to keep Cooper Green," Cedric Hatcher said.

Hatcher and Cooper Green Mercy Hospital go way back.

"I've been a patient at Cooper Green for over 20 years," he said.

20 years he's relied on Cooper Green for everything from medications to checkups. Something he says just isn't the same anywhere else.

"I've been to other hospitals when I had to go to the Emergency Room and it takes your services longer than not being a patient there," he said.

With Medicaid, he has insurance. But what about the others? Those without insurance, who have no means to pay and go to other hospitals could be kicked out.

"And that is where Cooper Green is different," Marc Sussman said.

Sussman, who works with Cooper Green, says the law states hospitals have to tend to true emergencies or women in active labor. But after assessment, they can refuse treatment. Cooper Green doesn't do that. And with more than 36,000 E-R visits a year, Commissioner George Bowman says this is a prime example of why the hospital needs to be open.

"For our purposes, it serves a need for the community," Bowman said. "You never know what's going to walk through the door of Cooper Green."

But Commissioner David Carrington says that's exactly the problem.

In a statement to ABC 33/40, Carrington says "The county is bankrupt; our funds are limited; and the county cannot continue to fund the financial shortfalls at Cooper Green out of the General Fund."

Hatcher says the county needs to cut the finances somewhere else.

"Have mercy on Cooper Green," he said. "No Cooper Green...no mercy."

Sussman says the hospital will continue quality care as long as it possibly can.

"We hope we'll be here a long time," Sussman said.