Alabama County to Decide Future of Indigent Care

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Commissioners in bankrupt Jefferson County are deciding the fate of a public hospital that treats poor people.
The five-member commission is set to vote Tuesday on a cost-saving move to quit admitting patients at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. The indigent care hospital would operate only as an emergency room going forward.
The city of Birmingham has sued to block the move, and supporters are rallying in opposition.
But commissioners who favor the shutdown say the county is subsidizing the hospital with more than $10 million annually, and budgets can't afford it.
Jefferson County filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history over some $4 billion in debt, and its daily operating budget also is suffering because of court rulings striking down a job tax.
The county previously sold its nursing home.

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