Hospital official hopes state pushes back deadline

Published 3:48 pm Monday, March 11, 2013

Chilton Medical Center administrator Ted Chapin said he hopes the state health department will extend a deadline set for Friday, when hospital officials were scheduled to present a plan in Montgomery for the operation’s future.

Chapin said the process of analyzing Chilton Medical’s financial situation and determining the feasibility of opening it back up to patients has been an arduous one.

“It’s been slower than I would have wanted, but these things don’t move quickly,” Chapin said. “There’s not a plan yet as to what level of service we’re going to provide.”

Pushing back the deadline shouldn’t necessarily be considered a setback because of the progress that has been made since CMC was closed to patients in October 2012.

Chapin said St. Vincent’s Health System has shown interest in operating the hospital, even going as far as conducting a demographic study of Chilton County. Two other health care companies have shown interest in purchasing the business and facility, Chapin said.

Hospital officials are working closely with their legal counsel, Chapin said, to make important decisions including whether the hospital could re-open as a new company.

Also, the facility off Lay Dam Road in Clanton would have to pass a state inspection, including testing of sprinkler systems and examining fire extinguishers.

Some aspects of the building that weren’t up to code weren’t issues while the business was still operating, but since the hospital stopped seeing patients, it could be held to strict safety guidelines.

“There are some things we haven’t done simply because we haven’t been seeing patients,” Chapin said but added that he thinks the hospital is as safe as it was when patients were walking through the door. “It’s no different than it was three months ago.”

Despite a painstaking process, Chapin said he remains confident.

“We’re down, but we’re not out,” he said.