Opposing views on potential JeffCo nursing home sale

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. - Jefferson County's nursing home could be sold soon. Monday the county opened bids and Nolan Healthcare Services won the high bid at $9.5 million.

A sale to a private healthcare provider worries some people.  Patsy Norris has two older sisters who are residents of  the Jefferson County Rehabilitation and Health Center. Norris is pleased with the quality of the care her sisters are receiving at the county run nursing home.

"It's very clean. Caring facility. I've sneaked in and sneaked out. The care they get here is excellent," Norris said.

Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington favors the sale.

"Philosophically, I don't believe it's the role of government to compete with the private sector," Carrington said.

Commissioner George Bowman  oversees the healthcare services of the county. Bowman opposes the sale. The county home has cost the county $4 million a year to bail out of the red. Bowman is convinced the facility can be operated at no major cost to the county.

"This is wrong in my opinion. I believe we still have a responsibility and we need to take care of these people," Bowman said.

The final sale could be in two to three months. Norris wants the commissioners to take into account the residents before okaying any sale.

"The commissioners need to take care of Alzheimer patients at home before the sale of this facility," Norris said.

Norris contends Jefferson County voters okayed a sales tax to provide healthcare for the indigent. Norris says voters need to have say on the facility's future.

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