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2011-08-04 / Front Page

Southwest Alabama Medical Center closes

ER to remain open over the weekend but will close Monday

Southwest Alabama Medical Center in Thomasville closed for inpatient services Friday, Aug. 5. The Emergency Room remains open until Monday when it too will close.

The closure is the culmination of months of financial problems for the Thomasville hospital that saw the city pump $300,000 into the private facility in an attempt to keep it afloat.  

Here is a statement that Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day posted to his Facebook page Friday afternoon.

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The Southwest Alabama Medical Center is currently closed for inpatient services. The Emergency Room is open and properly staffed by doctors and nurses until Monday. Any patients who come to the ER will get the proper care and if they need admission to a hospital they will be transferred to the facility of their choice and need.

The current owner of our hospital ran out of cash this week. After meeting with the doctors and key staff the decision was made to no longer admit patients to the facility due to the fact supplies and other necessary services needed to maintain quality care were not available.

Although I am very disappointed with our current status, I must say I greatly respect our local doctors for making the decision they had to make today for no other reason than the fact they care much more for their patient's and the welfare of the community than trying to operate in an inadequate environment.

We have been in lengthy negotiations for weeks for the sale of the facility to new owners. There are two different hospital developers/operators who have issued letters of Intent to purchase and were in the due diligence process in trying to finalize a purchase when the current owner ran out of cash. The city's healthcare authority has been meeting weekly and has infused cash in an effort to facilitate the transition to new ownership.

One of the developers/operators is still very interested in moving forward with construction of a new hospital and I will be in constant communication with them over the next few days. I have contacted the State Health and Planning Agency as well as the State CON (Certificate of Need) Board and have meetings set up with them and legal counsel early next week. I am in hopes we can quickly get direction on how we need to proceed in allowing these new hospital developer/operators to move forward as quickly as possible with construction of a new hospital.

We will work through this crisis. There are many, many people who care very much about our community and the need for quality healthcare here. The hundreds of millions of dollars of new industries under construction or about to start construction make this City and the region we serve extremely attractive for new investment in healthcare. We intent to work with all involved to find the best solution for our city and our citizens.

In the meantime, I am working to secure a group to open a 24/7 urgent care center here while we work to resolve this crisis. I have two groups that are very interested and hope to see one of them moving forward with a center within the next week.

I want to thank the employees of the hospital for continuing to work through very adverse circumstances to give the best care possible to their patients. You worked many weeks without knowing if you were going to get paid and some weeks you didn't! God Bless you for that! I will continue to fight for you and our community as long as I have breath in me! You did not deserve this and neither did our community!

I will continue to update everyone as I get more information. Please know I am working day and night to find the best solution for all involved!

 

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