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RMC Jacksonville to close, hospital gifted to Jacksonville State University

(abc3340.com)

The Board of Directors of the RMC Health System voted to shut down RMC Jacksonville effective June 30, 2018. The hospital will be gifted to Jacksonville State University for classroom space and campus housing.

The announcement confirms the fears of hospital employees and weeks of rumors. The hospital had struggled financially and had suffered closures of departments in recent years.

In a prepared statement, the health system announced how it planned to wind down operations at the hospital:

"Doctors and hospital staff will continue caring for patients until they are discharged or transferred to another facility RMC Health said. The emergency room and ancillary services supporting the ER will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, 2018.

Over the next six weeks, certain specialized services at the hospital will be transitioned to other RMC facilities. Genesis Senior Emotional Care, RMC’s geriatric psychiatry service, will relocate to RMC Anniston. The medical detoxification unit for drug and alcohol recovery will relocate to Stringfellow Memorial Hospital."

“In today’s volatile healthcare environment, sustaining under-utilized, high-cost services and facilities is not fiscally responsible,” said Billy Grizzard, chair of the Healthcare Authority of the City of Anniston in a press release. “RMC’s Board and leadership team have carefully evaluated the most viable options for the future of our health system and believe that reallocating our resources and services will best serve residents of Calhoun County and surrounding communities.

Jacksonville State University had strongly denied rumors it was looking to buy the facility to house its displaced nursing program. On Wednesday, a spokeswoman told ABC 33/40 News the school's position had changed but declined to comment further until a scheduled announcement by RMC was made Thursday.

RMC has two additional campuses. The chairman said the company would look to absorb as many jobs as possible there if the Jacksonville campus was forced to close.

Jacksonville Medical Center opened in 1976 and, after several changes in ownership, was purchased by RMC in January 2013. The 24-hour emergency department at RMC Jacksonville includes a Level II Trauma Center with nine treatment rooms, including two cardiac/trauma beds, an orthopedic room, treatment room for expectant mothers and pediatric patients.

Story updated at 8:48 a.m.

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