Jefferson County Commission Will Begin Negotiations to Set up Healthcare Authority With UAB

Tony Petelos, county manager for Jefferson County. (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Jefferson County commissioners gave the go-ahead Thursday for the county manager to begin negotiations with UAB Health System to establish a joint healthcare authority.

The authority would manage indigent healthcare in the county.

Commissioners passed the measure without discussion after talking about it in a meeting Tuesday. At that time, county manager Tony Petelos said the only difference patients should see if the authority is established would be a more efficient operation.

“Is Cooper Green going away? No. Is UAB absorbing Cooper Green? No,” Petelos said. “This is going to be a separate healthcare authority and the Jefferson County Commission will be a part of that process. But the healthcare authority will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Cooper Green Health Services.

The move to a healthcare authority would not cost any more money. Indigent care dollars are collected from the sales tax, Petelos said, and those dollars will be used to run the facility.

“It doesn’t involve general fund money,” he said. “It will only involve money from the Indigent Care Fund.”

Petelos said the decision to partner with UAB came after extensive conversations with officials at UAB and other health providers.