Local Hospital Finding Ways to Stay Open

Some Alabama hospitals are struggling as a result of our sluggish economy. With higher volume, more uninsured and under insured patients, many are trying to keep from closing their doors for good.

Dale County Medical Center continues to see patients walk through its doors, but the amount of people coming in and the money for the services are not adding up.

Dale Medical Center, CEO, Vernon Johnson said, "We are seeing a decline in admissions, an increase in uninsured and under insured patients utilizing our services and we're also facing with a declining reimbursement."

Johnson says like many hospitals nationwide, dale medical is struggling to stay afloat.

Just this past August, the hospital lost its Obstetric Department and has seen a 15-percent decrease in emergency room visits.

Not only are that, more patients defaulting on payments.

"Unfortunately, when people have to make a choice of buying food and gas or pay thief medical bills we get to the bottom of the pole," said Johnson

The beginning of a new year could cause more problems for the hospital with a cut in Medicaid.

"If the proposed Medicaid cuts go through that we have seen that were presented to us a couple of months ago, it will be a significant amount of money from this hospital's budget, and it could have a devastating effect on the hospital."

Naomi Youngblood, who comes to the hospital for her family doctor, says the outcome would cause problems for many.

"I think it will hurt a lot of people because there are elderly people, you know, or people with serious problems that probably come here, it's real convenient for them so I think that it will hurt a lot of people."

This problem is not just hurting smaller hospitals. The Physicians Medical Center Carraway in Birmingham closed in October after 100 years of business. Many struggling hospitals will have to just wait and see what might happen.

Dale Medical Center has not had to borrow money or lay off employees. Fortunately, they have a general fund they can tap into for tough times.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Susan Location: Ozark on Dec 7, 2008 at 02:15 AM
    I live in Ozark and I think that if the citizens of Ozark/Dale County would try DMC for their healthcare needs that they would find that they have an outstanding hospital. I went to a Dothan hospital with a friend and I can tell you that the services that she received were terrible-, rude staff, lousy service. As for the high cost of medical care received-did you get taken care of? Did you get the needed result that you were looking for? Issues that need to be resolved-what are they? Have you spoken to anyone at DMC about them?
  • by claudia Location: ozark on Dec 4, 2008 at 11:53 PM
    There are many reasons residents of Ozark do not go to Dale Medical - I was a patient there for less than 2 days once and it was a "nightmare"! The next time I had to go to a hospital I drove to a Dothan hospital even though I live in Ozark. Many people that I know refuse to go to DMC. There are many issues they need to resolve if they want us to go there.
  • by not surprised Location: dale county on Dec 4, 2008 at 08:43 PM
    im not surprised at people slow on paying.if the hospitals and doctors every where didnt charge an outragious amount maybe it would not be this big a problem.i went to the ER and all they did was take an exray and put a IV in but mo medicine went thru it .i was in ER about 2 hours and my bill was $1800.00.
WTVY-TV 285 N Foster Street Dothan, AL 36303 334-792-3195
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 35566689 - wtvy.com/a?a=35566689
Gray Television, Inc.