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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