Hospital needs help

Published 8:44 pm Saturday, October 13, 2012

More than 150 people gathered Friday at Chilton Medical Center to pray that their only local hospital might be saved.

For every day that passes and the hospital doesn’t have new owners, the situation looks more bleak. CMC is about $4 million in debt and has been threatened that the state will shut it down if a plan isn’t drafted for how the business will become financially viable while also providing acceptable care.

The frustrating part for patients and employees is that when they look around, they don’t see anyone to blame. Workers stand to lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and Ted Chapin, executive director, has done everything in his power to correct the problems—and has vowed that, like any good captain, he wouldn’t bail and instead intends to go down with the ship, if it comes to that.

Chapin’s leadership in an unimaginable situation is to be praised, as is the commitment shown by employees to continue their care for Chilton County residents in the face of an uncertain future.

Leaders have said a sale of the hospital seems to be the only solution, but that step is far from simple because the building is owned by a subsidiary of Sunlink Health Systems, while a subsidiary of Carraway Medical Systems, Inc., runs the business.

The board opened up to the public its most recent meeting, on Oct. 9, in an effort to answer questions about the situation, but many employees left with questions remaining about their job security. Other Chilton County residents, of course, would also lose a lot. The 30 minute-drive to Alabaster or Prattville could be the difference between life and death during an emergency.

The people of Chilton County showed Friday that they care about the hospital and are willing to do everything in their power to save it. Unfortunately, they’ll need some help.