Eufaula city leaders say it is time to take local ownership of the city's hospital, and they're hoping the Southeast Alabama Medical Center will help them do that. City leaders say the change is needed because the hospital’s health care services have not been consistent for decades.
Eufaula’s Mayor, Mayor Jay Jaxon says, "Eufaula Hospital has changed hands nine times since 1980, making it very difficult to offer a long term vision for improved healthcare for our community."
Lakeview Community Hospital is currently owned and operated by Attentus Health Care, a company based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Attentus is just one on a long list of companies that have bought and sold the hospital, in the past 26 years. But officials in Eufaula want this constant change of ownership to stop, and they're asking the Southeast Alabama Medical Center for help in figuring out ways to get local ownership of the 74 bed facility.
"Overwhelmingly people would like to have Southeast Alabama Medical Center present in Eufaula, and we think we're going to be able to do that... we're just working out the details right now," said Rick Smith, of the Southeast Alabama Medical Center.
If Attentus agrees to sell, the City of Eufaula would create a new healthcare authority that would own Lakeview Hospital, and the Medical Center would operate the facility through a lease.
"They know the hospital business and we don't, so we have alot of confidence in the leadership and the board of the Southeast Alabama Medical Center," said Jaxon.
New 4 did attempt to speak with Lakeview Hospital officials, but they say due to an agreement of confidentiality with the hospital's owners, they cannot say anything further about the deal.
In order for the change to work, the Houston County Healthcare Authority, which operates the medical center, has asked Houston County commissioners to form an entity that would serve as an affiliated healthcare provider in Barbour County.