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      Hospital contracts approved for care of Cooper Green patients

      Contracts for hospitals to help treat Cooper Green patients are finally in place. They were approved Tuesday nearly a year and a half after the hospital was downgraded to an urgent care facility.Patients shouldn't notice much of a difference. the contracts make it easier for the money to follow the patient. That ensures hospitals are paid more promptly for their services.The Jefferson County Commission approved ten contracts with UAB, UAB West, St. Vincent's and Baptist Health System totaling approximately 14 million dollars. The hospitals will help provide specialty care, like OB/GYN. Patients will still need to go to Cooper Green. But if they need additional specialty treatment or hospitalization, they will be referred to the appropriate provider."I'm excited about this. This is a huge hurdle we've crossed. My main concern is having the best care for our indigent patients," said Commissioner Sandra Little Brown.Now the county is focused on opening community clinics and finding a permanent urgent care director. A firm will conduct a search once the job description has been approved by the personnel board.