Community members pack a town hall meeting. Source: Josh Gauntt/WBRC
FAYETTE, AL (WBRC) -
Officials in Fayette are trying to figure out ways to keep the Fayette Medical Center viable for years to come.
If you want to know how much the Fayette Medical Center means to the community, just ask the people who live there and actually use it.
"We have some of the best care and hospital people and doctors in this small of an area," Condra Worrell, a resident who uses the hospital said.
"We've got a gold mine here and people just don't know how important this hospital is," Mayor Ray Nelson said.
That's why hundreds of people came together Tuesday night at Fayette's Civic Center to talk about ways to keep the hospital's future stable.
But due to less money coming in from Medicare and Medicaid payments and rising operating costs, the hospital is somewhat struggling financially. We're told the hospital lost hundreds of thousands of dollars last year and it gave millions away in free care.
Officials say the Fayette Medical Center isn't closing by any means. But they do need the community's economic help and to try and figure out ways to help it reduce costs and attract new services to the hospital.
"We don't want to get to a point where we can't help. We got to help now," Nelson said.
"Our children use it. Our grandchildren use it," Sonny Worrell, a resident said. "Its just apart of the community and I think any community of this size needs to know and depend on the ability to go and get good medical treatment."
Will this financial help from the community come in the form of taxes? That word wasn't brought up by hospital officials and community leaders. But we're told that could be a possibility in the future.