Chilton Medical Center fights to stay open after investigation - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Chilton Medical Center fights to stay open after investigation

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CHILTON COUNTY - AL -

The only hospital in Chilton County may close. The Chilton Medical Center is  $4 million in debt.  It even temporarily closed its operating rooms. Now the state is investigating to see if the
hospital can afford patient care.

Patients and employees at Chilton Medical Center hope to find a way to keep the county's only hospital open.

"My brother in law, they had to shock him to be able to get him back and he wouldn't have made it to Shelby or anywhere else if it hadn't been for the hospital here," Linda Blankenship, who's family members are in the hospital said.

With a change in hospital ownership, finances are in the red and the State Department of Public Health is investigating - to be sure it can provide safe medical care to patients.

The hospital must prove it's financially stable during a hearing in November. If it cannot prove adequate finances, it will lose it's license, and close.

"Based on our findings from the interviews and observations and the reviews we have done - the Chilton Medical Center is not financially sound," Dr. Tom Geary, Alabama Department of Public Health said.

That means, patients in Chilton County - and anyone traveling I-65 will have to get to Shelby Baptist Medical Center or Prattville Baptist Medical Center for help 30 miles away.

"This financial problem represents a significant potential risk to patients and people driving north and south on I 65," Dr. Geary said.

"It's just too far to go to another hospital" Margaret Pierce, a nurse at Chilton Medical Center said. "My husband would tell you his mother lived ten years longer having had emergency treatment at our hospital than she would have lived had she not. Most of us have memories of
being treated here when we wouldn't have gone to Shelby. We wouldn't have made it."

Today, the hospital CEO told us they have a potential new buyer. If that deal goes through, they'll be financially stable and remain open. That hearing is set for November 8th.

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