MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The CEO of a Clanton hospital that has had its license suspended says he hopes to find a new owner to operate what has been the only hospital in a 60-mile stretch between Prattville and Alabaster.
The Alabama Department of Health issued an emergency order Monday suspending the license of Clanton Hospital after the facility was unable to meet its payroll. The hospital operates as Chilton Medical Center. It was given notice earlier this month its license could be revoked.
Clanton Hospital CEO Ted Chapin said Tuesday there is a sign on the hospital's front door that says those seeking health care should go to hospitals in Prattville, Montgomery, Alabaster or Birmingham. The yellow sign greets visitors to the one-story hospital.
He said hospital officials hope to provide a financial plan for reopening the facility at a Nov. 8 meeting with a health department hearing officer.
State Health Officer Don Williamson said at the hearing hospital officials will have to show they have fixed the financial problems "and that they will stay fixed."
Chapin said it's important to get the hospital's doors open because patients suffering a heart attack or a serious injury currently have to travel to Prattville or Alabaster to receive care.
Chapin said he was concerned about "someone suffering chest pains or a kid needing stitches," Chapin said.
Williamson said it won't help patients if the hospital remains open but can't meet patients' needs
An attorney for the health department, Brian Hale, said the hospital has been asked to come up with a long-term plan for keeping its doors open.
Hale said there were two patients in the 60-bed hospital Monday and they were transferred to hospitals in Alabaster and Birmingham.
Williamson said this was the first time in 20 years that the health department has had to step in and close a hospital. He said other hospitals had closed because they were sold or for other reasons.
"This is the only time I remember us closing a hospital. It doesn't happen very often," Williamson said.