Cooper Green's final day as a hospital - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Cooper Green's final day as a hospital

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

The new year will bring a new way of delivering medical care to the poor in Jefferson County. Cooper Green Mercy Hospital will no longer offer in-patient or emergency room services.

So far, the final day has brought no protests or vocal opposition to the change. But just before midnight, supporters will light 40 candles for the 40 years of hospital service and for the 40 thousand patients served.

Many of those patients are still confused about what's happening to the hospital.

When Mary Beasley set out to take her brother to Cooper Green's pharmacy, she had no idea what to expect.

"I wasn't sure. That's why I stopped to ask you if they were still open," said Beasley.

The "yes, we're open" banner on the side of the hospital is now hard to read. Some patients are confused about what exactly is closing and second guessing the sign's message.

"I know they're closing in-patient or something like that," said AC Drummer, a patient.

The county manager says all patients will continue getting the help they need.

Here's how it will work- the six hospital patients were transferred to other facilities Friday and surgeries requiring overnight stays have already stopped. No other patients will be admitted.

The ER will close its doors at midnight.

At 8 a.m., all clinics and the pharmacy will re-open and doctors will keep seeing patients.

The big change? If a patient needs to be hospitalized, Cooper Green staff will make arrangements.

186 employees are losing their jobs, including the hospital director. Until an urgent care director is hired, the transition team and county manager will serve in an interim director capacity.

The plan is beginning to make sense to some patients.

"That sound good. That sound real good. I like that," said Beasley.

But it's still met by skepticism from others.

"I'm just going to wait and see and hope things work for everybody," said Drummer. 

The county nursing home's contract for temporary nurses expired Monday. 22 employees originally put on leave are being transferred there. Another two are going to the juvenile detention center.

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