Rogers' plan to save Cooper Green

Jefferson County is working on a new model for Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. But hospital supporters don't want to wait.

Representative John Rogers of Birmingham unveiled his own plan to sell the hospital into an existing healthcare authority for one dollar. He says the hospital would be downsized but still provide in-patient care.

"We just want to make sure patients get treated fairly and get the proper treatment," said Rogers.

Rogers claims the healthcare authority is currently being run by the commission.

However, commissioners say they don't have one.

Former Commissioner Larry Langford and his spiritual advisor, Ocie Oden, did establish one in 2003. It still exists. But Oden says he is no longer involved and doesn't know who controls it.

While Rogers believes the indigent care fund would be enough to finance the hospital under an authority, the county manager disagrees.

"The problem is Cooper Green is operating in the red and has for years. Cooper Green is not functioning, so it can meet its budget. The last thing the commissioners want is{}to transition it into a healthcare authority and it fold," said County Manager Tony Petelos.

Cooper Green supporters are asking everyone to refrain from purchasing anything in Jefferson County on October 30 to remind the commission of how important their buying power is to the county.