Commission meeting on Cooper Green becomes heated

A war of words during the Jefferson County commission's committee meeting this morning. This came after an audit showed mismanagement of funds.{}

Now, the commission is moving forward with plans that will shut down inpatient care at Cooper Green.

The heated exchange took place between Jefferson County commission president David Carrington and commissioner George Bowman.

After discussing audit results of Cooper Green Mercy and what to do moving forward, commissioner Carrington called Bowman a "one trick pony". "There was an audit that showed problems, both operationally, procedurally, legallyand we felt we needed to deal with those immediately," says Carrington.Carrington says three contracts in question are now being investigated by the district attorney's office, all totaling more than $103,000.

Commissioner Bowman says the contracts were legally authorized. "I believe that I was in my rights as the appointing authority for the hospital in doing and making the decision that I made," says Bowman.By the end of the meeting, three resolutions passed that will toward closing inpatient care at Cooper Green Mercy.The first resolution, accepts the audit recommendations. It will allow the commission to see if legal action needs to be taken to recollect money from questionable contracts. The second resolution adopts a plan that would make Cooper Green a primary care facility. The third, allows a three person committee made up of commissioners Joe Knight and Sandra Little Brown, plus county manager Tony Petelos, to negotiate inpatient transfer agreements with other hospitals.

The committee will tentatively make their presentation to the commission by September 28. Inpatient care at Cooper Green is slated to end by December 1.