Archived Story

Hartselle takes hospital issue to Washington

Published 12:45pm Monday, February 4, 2013

Mayor Don Hall is heading to Washington hoping that the Alabama congressional delegation can help push through changes to Medicaid’s hospital reimbursement policies, which led to the closing of Hartselle Medical Center one year ago.

In January 2012, Capella officials, which owned Hartselle Medical Center until the time it closed on Jan. 31, 2012, cited changes that Medicaid reimbursements was one of the reasons why they were forced to shut down operations in Hartselle.

Huntsville Hospital purchased the HMC building after operations ceased for $1.5 million, but no services have returned since it closed in January 2012.

Hall said that Morgan County is suffering from that more than other counties.

Hall knows it may not be possible for the Alabama’s congressmen to do something specific for Hartselle’s hospital, but he hopes they can work on change that will benefit all of Alabama’s health care system.

“Alabama is the lowest of the nation,” Hall said. “And in Morgan County, we are the lowest of the 67 counties in Alabama. What we’re looking for is a way to level the playing field for medical facilities in our area.”

Hall also noted that one reason why hospitals received less funding is because they try to operate as efficiently as possible.

“The hospitals in our area are being penalized for running an efficient operation,” Hall said. “When I was in the military, if we didn’t use all of the funding we received, our funding would get cut. It’s the same thing that’s happening here.”

Hall said all of Hartselle’s councilmen were scheduled to travel to Washington on Monday, along with Hartselle Chamber of Commerce president Susan Hines, Hartselle Utilities general manager Bob Sittason, Department of Development director Jeff Johnson, City Planner Jeremy Griffith and others.

In addition to lobbying for local health care, Hall said the city will be asking the congressmen for help with projects including transportation, emergency warning sirens, downtown flood mitigation, grants for the Hartselle – Morgan County Airport and additional firefighting equipment.

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