Jefferson County budget passed despite Cooper Green questions - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jefferson County budget passed despite some Cooper Green questions

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

A few Cooper Green Hospital supporters once again left the courthouse yelling. Tuesday, their tempers flared over Jefferson County's new budget.

Cooper Green 65 million dollars to operate. That is 13 million dollars less than what the hospital was given this year. Some commissioners say it's more than enough. Others question how there can be any certainty when the healthcare model is changing and no one knows just yet exactly what it will look like or cost.

Jefferson County's approved indigent care budget. It was met with disapproving remarks.

"You can implement God's pan. You aren't going to have any money," said Marilyn Mosley, a Cooper Green supporter and patient. "I don't know if my doctor is going to be there tomorrow at a quarter until two. I don't know that. But I'm going to keep my appointment as I would encourage my fellow blue card holders."

She's uncertain because hospital employees are resigning. By the end of the year, 250 positions will be cut.

There's also more questions about how the county's hospital will transition into a primary care center.

"How can they put out a plan when they don't have a plan to put with the budget?," asked Cooper Green supporter Sheila Tyson.

"They don't know how that's going to happen. They still don't have a plan. Again, we're making decisions before we have a plan as to how we're going to execute them," said Jefferson County Commissioner George Bowman.

Bowman was the one vote against the hiring of a healthcare consultant for a maximum of 208 thousand dollars to draft a plan.

County manager Tony Petelos says it could result in an amended budget to ensure patients are taken care of.

"No one is going to be left on the street. The laws do not allow anyone to be left on the streets. If anyone shows up at a hospital and they need service, they will be taken care of," said Petelos.

Representative John Rogers will hold a rally Thursday to discuss Cooper Green. In addition to the indigent care fund, a 205 million dollar general fund was approved.

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