Rev. Al Sharpton weighs in on Cooper Green

A national name, Reverend Al Sharpton, plans to inject himself into a local issue.

Sharpton is coming to Birmingham for a rally to save inpatient care at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital.

However, it was Governor Robert Bentley voicing support of keeping inpatient care at Cooper Green that breathed new life into this fight.

"(That) let us know that we were on the right track in the beginning," says Jefferson County Commissioner, George Bowman. "This is not over. We are still in this fight and will continue to be in this fight."

Bowman says, along with the Governor's support at the state level, Reverend Sharpton will put the issue in the national spotlight. "We look forward to (Sharpton's) involvement and his coming to help and assist in this effort," Bowman says. "We hope that the increased exposure to what's going on will eventually move the other commissioners who voted to close it, to change their minds, to look at it another way with another approach."Bowman agrees there needs to be some restructuring but believes the commission's proposed model isn't the right answer. "We need this hospital. This hospital serves a vital portion, of our population and we have to do everything in our power to keep it open for the services it provides," Bowman said.

In response, Jefferson County Manager, Tony Petelos said in a prepared statement, "The citizens of Jefferson County, especially those who have historically been served by Cooper Green Mercy, will continue to receive the same level of uninterrupted care during this transition period. The community will be informed and a valued partner in the development of the new healthcare network."

Right now, a roundtable forum is in the works for the morning of October 26. Concerned citizens, legislators and the county commission is encouraged to attend. A rally is set for the Jefferson County Courthouse steps later that morning from 11:00am until Noon.