Tag: Cooper Green Mercy Health Services
The executive director of Jefferson County’s General Retirement System has softened her stance concerning eligibility of employees of Cooper Green Mercy Clinic to remain in the county pension system.
The issue arose when Jefferson County commissioners brought up a proposal to study partnering with UAB to form a health care authority.
In a letter last week, Amy Adams wrote that current pension law would not permit Cooper Green employees to participate in the county’s pension if they were “terminated.” A day later, she clarified a point and said it might be possible under certain conditions. Read more.
A last-ditch effort by Jefferson County commissioners Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson to delay a vote on an authority to govern indigent health care in Jefferson County failed today.
Commissioners Jimmie Stephens, Joe Knight and Steve Ammons voted to approve the resolution to enter a due diligence period with UAB Health System to negotiate an agreement to create a University Healthcare Authority.
Scales and Tyson voted no.
“Today was unfortunate for the poor people, the vulnerable folks of Jefferson County as well as the employees of Jefferson County,” Scales said. “Employees are devastated. Employees feel the county has turned its back on them.”
Stephens viewed the action differently.
“It’s going to be a great day for our indigent in Jefferson County,” the commission president said. “They will be able to receive state-of-the-art care from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. And from what I’ve heard today, I’m very much encouraged that our employees will be taken care of in this process also. Read more.
Earlier this week:
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.
Jefferson County is moving closer to establishing a healthcare authority to manage indigent healthcare in the county.
During their committee meeting Tuesday, commissioners moved a resolution to the agenda of Thursday’s commission meeting that would direct county manager Tony Petelos to begin detailed discussions with UAB Health System to establish University Health Authority.
Petelos said the only difference patients should see is 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.” Read more.
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. Read more.
Feb. 6, 2018 – Jefferson County commissioners heard a presentation about a proposed primary care expansion agreement for Cooper Green Mercy Health Services during their committee meeting Tuesday.
After lengthy discussion, commissioners moved three related items to the agenda for Thursday’s commission meeting. The discussion included concern among commissioners that more of the most needy in the county could be pushed out.
“If I can cut at the top, it’ll allow me to expand at the bottom,” Commissioner David Carrington said. “I’m concerned that we are servicing families with higher income and that prevents us from serving families with lower incomes.”
The primary care expansion agreement is based on a hub and spoke model with Cooper Green serving as the hub and its partners serving as the spokes. Read more.
Jan. 25, 2018 – The Jefferson County Commission today authorized the county manager to begin discussions with the University of Alabama at Birmingham about establishing a health care authority to operate Cooper Green Mercy Health Services.
The move came in response to a consultant’s report that recommended building a new building for multispecialty outpatient service clinics, selling the current Cooper Green building and entering a partnership with a healthcare authority to make more decisions about how indigent care is handled in the county.
“The challenges are we have an old building and we have an operating model that is still essentially a remnant of an in-patient facility,” said Tony Fiori, managing director of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. Read more and watch video of Fiori’s briefing.
When Cooper Green Mercy Hospital closed its doors in 2013, Jefferson County officials were reeling from health care costs that had spun out of control. At that time, the $50 million indigent care fund – generated by a percentage of sales tax revenue – was not enough to cover costs and officials were dipping into the county’s general fund to cover the shortage.
Cooper Green was reborn as an urgent care and primary care clinic. The move has reduced costs over the past four years, but some commissioners recently expressed concern at the amount the county was paying UAB, which provides in-patient, emergency and specialty care to Cooper Green’s poor patients. The payments to UAB are projected to reach about $24 million this fiscal year – nearly half of the county’s indigent care fund.
Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said the county is not in danger of exceeding the money set aside for indigent care this year, but that does not mean it is as cost effective as it could be. Because it is costly operating the aging building designed to be a hospital, Petelos and Cooper Green Mercy CEO Roger McCollough are pushing an effort to replace Cooper Green Mercy.
They’re also looking for ways to channel patients to less-expensive preventative care, treating them before they’re so sick they require treatment in an emergency room or hospitalization. Read more.
Commissioner David Carrington acknowledged feeling better about the financial state of indigent care in Jefferson County during Tuesday’s commission committee meeting. He said last week he’d be told the county’s cost for inpatient indigent care at UAB Hospital was up to $25 million, well over the commission’s cap of $16 million to $17 million.
County Manager Tony Petelos said Tuesday the county actually has spent just less than $12 million for inpatient indigent care so far this year.
“I feel better than I did two weeks ago,” Carrington said. “My initial concern was it appeared as if the inpatient portion of the indigent care fund was out of control. I received some new data and it appears the inpatient data is in control.” Read more.
Jefferson County commissioners are again wondering how to manage the creeping rise in healthcare costs for the poor.
Commissioners at a Tuesday committee meeting expressed concerns that the cost to provide in-patient care to the poor in the county has risen to an estimated $25 million a year.
Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the county had hoped it could keep the tab for indigent in-patient care, which is being provided by area hospitals, at about $15 million.
Commissioners expressed concerns that the rising costs could force the county to again dip into its general fund to foot the healthcare bill. Read more.