Pickens County residents receive disappointing news on hospital’s immediate future

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:42 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PICKENS COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Citizens in Pickens County learned this week state lawmakers did not set aside funds to re-open the old Pickens County hospital, one natives say is sorely needed, especially after what happened a few weeks ago.

Senator Gerald Allen says he voted for it, but there was not enough widespread support to spend $8 million to reopen the medical center. This is not sitting well with some residents in the county.

Annie Jackson lost her sister Grena Prude about two weeks ago, an unexpected death in the family and one Jackson believes could have been prevented had the Pickens County Medical Center been open. Prude was 55 years old.

“I can’t say she would be here today, but she would definitely had a chance, so who’s to know. If the hospital had been opened, at least we could have given her a chance,” said Jackson.

A chance Annie Jackson will always wonder about. But there is no second-guessing her profound disappointment in the Alabama senate, not including the $8 million needed in the state appropriations bill.

Leaders say the money would have been used to first reopen the medical facility as a mental health center for adolescents with the long term goal of re-opening the emergency room.

Vicky McCrory is a paramedic with Pickens County Ambulance. McCrory simply doesn’t understand how this could happen.

“A disappointment would be an understatement. At the very least, I was hoping they would have an ER because there is no emergency services in Pickens County,” said McCrory.

Senator Gerald Allen, whose senate district includes Pickens County, says he was always in favor of reopening the hospital and voted ‘yes’ this time around as well, but as with a lot of proposals and bills in the state house, this one just didn’t make it through.

“Why? There again, you know, the chairman is a powerful individual and there are many issues that affect the entire state, but it was disappointing,” said Senator Allen.

Annie Jackson and Vicky McCrory say there’re not aware of a plan ‘B’, but they haven’t given up hope that there could be another route to explore. Only time will tell.

“We are a family. We take care of one another,” said Jackson.

The Pickens County Medical Center closed about three years ago because funding dried up.

Meantime, Annie Jackson moves forward another day without a functioning hospital, another day wondering what could’ve been with her sister.

Senator Allen says as a general rule, it takes about three years to get a critical piece of legislation passed in the state house. He plans to try again next year.

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.