JeffCo Approves Contracts With Community Health Care Providers, Will Continue Conversation About Cooper Green System

Maps show coverage area for the Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and its partner Alabama Regional Medical Services (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens described the Cooper Green Mercy Health Services as “ever evolving but always moving for the better,” after Thursday’s County Commission meeting.

“What we want to do is we want to have a best practices health care (system) for our citizens,” Stephens said. “That’s our intention and that’s our goal.”

Commissioners moved forward with a plan to extend the hub-and-spoke model of county health care by adding partners to the network that would be providing care out in the communities. They passed a resolution authorizing the commission president to execute the following agreements and/or amendments:

  • Alabama Regional Medical Services, $150.000.
  • Cahaba Medical Care Foundation, $150,000.
  • Total Foot Care, P.C., $73,632.

“We’re in the process of implementing that and expanding that out into the service area,” Stephens said.

The hub-and-spoke model has Cooper Green Mercy Health as the central base of operation with multiple partner entities having facilities farther out in the service area. Those facilities will allow patients to receive service more conveniently, avoiding trips downtown.

At their prior meeting, commissioners heard a report from Manatt Health, a division of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP, which was hired to evaluate how Jefferson County can set up Cooper Green’s long-term sustainability and best meet its commitment to deliver health care services for low-income residents.

Jefferson County commissioners Sandra Little Brown and Jimmie Stephens. Feb. 8, 2016 (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, commissioners questioned the impact of enacting the Manatt recommendations, which included some number of patients paying a copay for service.

“In our Tuesday meeting, we talked about the Manatt report and whether we were going to do a health care authority,” Stephens said. “That’s what we asked the county manager’s office to explore further … to determine the amount of copay and to determine if the eligibility requirement is the proper criteria for service.”

Cooper Green now provides service to patients at 200 percent of the poverty level. That may change, the commission president said.

“We’re utilizing all of our indigent care dollars and we’re about to peak out of our $50 million,” Stephens said. “We don’t want to limit the coverage to our citizens. We may need to reduce the eligibility to, maybe, 166 percent of the poverty level, to where we can service more of those people who are truly in need.”