Archived Story

Commission supports tax increase for construction of new hospital

Published 7:51pm Monday, April 22, 2013

The state-issued Certificate of Need for Chilton Medical Center will expire in October if the facility has not re-opened to patients.

“We have been assured by the CON board that they will work with us to ensure a Certificate of Need on a new facility,” Payton said.

Meanwhile, Don Ball, who was court-appointed to clear up Chilton Medical Center’s finances, continues his work despite fading hope the facility will be re-opened.

Ball said 10 part-time employees, not including himself, are still working at CMC. There were about 18 employees in December 2012, he said.

“Current activities at the hospital are mainly focused on identifying equipment that has been rented or leased and working with the respective owners to return the equipment,” Ball said. “Preparations are also being made for the storage of medical and other records that we are required to maintain on an ongoing basis. Certain final reports are being prepared and filed as required by law or regulation.”

Payton said the owner of the Chilton Medical Center property, a subsidiary of SunLink Health Systems Inc., could still sell the hospital to an entity interested in re-opening it.

“If somebody re-opens it, we’ll step aside and abandon our effort to build a new one,” he said.

Payton said one of the board’s goals when it began its effort to re-open the hospital was to keep employees, but most have since found work elsewhere.

While the board wants to secure a hospital option for residents as quickly as possible, Payton said the group’s opinion is that the benefits of a new facility make it worth the wait.

“If we go about this in the right way, it will be a short time to have to sacrifice for the good we’ll end up with,” Payton said. “We just felt like we needed to fix this right and permanently.”

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  • Katherine Reece

    I was in the ER of the hospital about two weeks before it closed. The only advantage to going there was that it was so close. Unless you have been there recently and you really can’t understand how sub-standard the building was.

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  • Taffine

    My mother volunteered thousands of hours as a pink lady there. She loved that hospital, staff and anything related. When she became ill in Dec 2011 and demanded we put her there for rehab I went there to get her room ready with homey touches and was devastated that I would be leaving my mom there. It was dark, dingy and had a smell that no type of cleaning and remodeling could fix. Now this is not a dismissal to the hard workers of the hospital because they were dedicated and maintained the cleanliness of this building but honestly the people of Chilton County deserve better than that building. They deserve a hospital they are comfortable staying and being treated and sending their loved ones too. Before closing many occasions when my mother would get ill I would say Clanton stabilizer her till you can get her to Birmingham, Shelby or Montgomery. She was not to spend one night in that facility.

    Chilton County has to better for its residence anytime something new comes up there is an uproar for it not to occur. A new hospital is a must. The community needs it not only because deserve medical treatment in the county but also need the jobs. I am from Chilton County and it makes me so move home and be a resource to my community because there are no jobs for a professional person and the county will not support new economic growth.

    Great job commission supporting this hopefully the people of Chilton County will also.

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  • rclgel1

    You have got to be kidding me. How does it make sense to spend $20 million to build a new hospital rather than spend $5 million to repair the one that’s already there. How does it make sense to wait a year before we can even vote on a tax increase, plus more years to buy a property, plan the building and build it rather than going full speed ahead with the repair, paying off the debt and be back in operation in a year.

    Of course, we must remember that Clanton needs another empty building to go with all the ones we already have (Ace Hardware, the grocery store on 31 at Blacksnake, the empty car dealerships, Beau’s, the Mexican Grocery, half of the strip mall with Farmer’s Furniture, half of the strip mall with Winn Dixie).

    How many Chilton County citizens will have inferior medical care while the politians talk instead of act, and spend four times more money then they need to. And if the voters show more sense than the politians, and say fix what you have instead of taxing us to build a new hospital, how much more time will they spend talking rather than doing.

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    • vhsalumni81

      Where will the 5 million come from right now the board only has right at 1 million and the 5 million does not include the liens that have been placed on the building and the land. It is more cost effective in the long run to have a new hospital and a fresh start. I am sure the board would love to build around the hospital we already have here and begin quality healthcare but the owners of this building and the land will not work with them. SunLink is the greedy ones not the board. This cannot be done without a tax increase and that is how it is sometimes the innocent have to pay for the wrongs of the prior owners. I do not want a tax increase, I do think there is waste all around but if we don’t get a hospital soon we will lose business. This county will dry up!

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  • vhsalumni81

    Please understand that the hospital is not standing up to code. It is far from it, It would cost over a million dollars to even bring it up to fire code for 2005 must less 2013. The people of Chilton County need to educate themselves on this tax before voting it down. I am the first to say that I hate taxes and I hardly ever vote for a tax increase unless it has to do with our children’s education. However, if we want a future in this county for our children we have no choice but to have a new hospital. SunLink who owns the hospital and the land it is on wants 1.6 million dollars for this building as is, wants our county to pay all the repairs and the liens that are against the building and the land that the crooks who SunLink leased the hospital to before The Cheeks who are crooks!!!Professional crooks! They never paid a bill, they never paid employees Healthcare premiums while steady taking it out of their checks, they never paid light bills, phone bills, they never paid vendors in our own county for repairs, now they are in jail but the damage was done, The irs has liens placed against this building. The county board cannot afford to buy this building no company will come in and run this building because of the risk involved so where does that leave our county? Without healthcare, without anyway to attract new business, without a FUTURE!!!Please Please educate yourself on this tax before knocking it down. You can contact any board member and I am sure they will talk to you about it. Some of them are Alan Payton, Ken Patterson, Johnny Mckinney, Sibley Reynolds and others.

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  • steve42

    I’m on record as being opposed to the majority of the tax increase proposals that are brought forth by the Commission as a solution to the woes of our community, but this one deserves at least some serious consideration.

    What is the big picture here? Every community should have a medical facility that is available 24/7 to meet the medical needs of the residents. CMC has been through it all in the years that I have been in the area. I’ve lost count of the number of owners and news articles in this publication where hopes have been expressed that this new owner/management team is going to be the one that can make CMC relevant once more.

    Spending a million dollars to bring the building up to compliance with fire code will do just that: bring it up to fire code. That million dollar expenditure would not do anything to solve the other problems the facility has currently.

    Any group operating the existing facility is going to have to deal with problems that have been caused by the previous owners; if they buy the facility, they buy the problems.

    A new facility, under new ownership and management, would be a fresh start. As I’ve said here before, perhaps a triage and transfer facility for critical care cases coupled with a 24-hour clinic qualified to handle non-critical patients would be better.

    The issue that is not being addressed is how the absence of a facility affects the local economy. Not only are most of the people who worked for the hospital out a position, but would CRH/Johnson Controls, KMA, Merchants Company or the Jeff State system choose to place a facility here today with no hospital in the community?

    In that light, I would like to see what commitment the local municipalities would be willing to make to funding the facility. They stand to lose more than the county government if this effort fails.

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    • Katherine Reece

      I would add a testing facility as well. A lot of people in the community were sent to the CMC for sonars, x-rays, mammograms, etc… especially the elderly and disabled who don’t need to be forced to drive an hour for a medical test.

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  • evelynmh

    so the county officials want to raise our taxes on our property and our tags to build something that is already here because they do not want the hassel of having to get the hospital that is already standing up to code.You guys may can set on your buts and make enough to afford extra tax fees but what about the people that really have to work for a living.I mean come on really a another tax increase.Why not sale some of the surplus vehicles that our sheriffs department has but don’t need like the tank and some of the hammer do you really think we need a tank oh and lets not forget about the helicopter that we never use.

    (Report comment)

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