Letter to Cooper Green patients about clinics scares some - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Letter to Cooper Green patients about clinics creates more confusion

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One of the letters sent to patients of Cooper Green Mercy requesting them to pick up medical records and find new doctors. (abc3340.com) One of the letters sent to patients of Cooper Green Mercy requesting them to pick up medical records and find new doctors. (abc3340.com)
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Cooper Green continues to be at the center of confusion. Patients received letters saying they need to find new doctors and pick up medical records before the end of the month.

Those letters came from Jefferson Clinic. The company staffs Cooper Green's clinics with doctors. The contract ends January 31st, so letters had to be sent out giving patients a 30 day notice in the event a new contract couldn't be reached.

But county manager Tony Petelos says patients shouldn't panic because a new agreement is under review.

Some of the patients who received the letters from Jefferson Clinic dated December 23, 2012 were scared and disappointed.

"I was trying to figure out what to do because I have a lot of health issues and this was the only place I could go and pay five dollars," said Robert Hankins, a patient.

Hankins says it's all she can manage to scrape up, so no clinics at Cooper Green would mean no medical care.

"I guess my diabetes would be outta control and my blood pressure would be outta control," she said.

Patient Tomeetha Ward isn't worrying about the letter for now.

"I was trying to wait to see if it would happen. After that, I was going to go forth and do whatever I needed to do to seek other medical help or attention," said Ward.

Petelos says that's not necessary because most of Cooper Green's clinics aren't going anywhere. He's been negotiating with Jefferson Clinic for months and now has a new contract that could go before the commission for approval next week.

"If you have an appointment, keep your appointment," he said.

Petelos says the new contract won't include the HIV clinic, general surgery, or orthopedic surgery. Other providers have agreed to take over that care. But not all of the clinic doctors have chosen to stay. Petelos says not to worry.

"Most of our doctors are still there. Some have left on their own but we're bringing in other doctors as those doctors make the decision to leave," he said.

Those new doctors will see new patients and keep Cooper Green clinics open.

The new agreement is being reviewed by attorneys.

If patients have questions about appointments, call 930-3350.

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