Fourth Community Forum on Cooper Green in Bessemer Focuses on Authority to Oversee Indigent Healthcare

Cooper Green BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  – A healthcare authority – divorced from politics and designed by medical and business professionals – and more money to pay for existing primary care services are some ways to help patients caught in the fallout of changes at what was Cooper Green Mercy Hospital.
Those opinions are some of the talking points that have come out of the last three community forums discussing the best ways to avert a potential healthcare crisis for indigent and under-insured patients in Jefferson County.
At last month’s forum, J.M. “Mickey” Trimm, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Health Professions, said that Denver offers a model that Jefferson County can follow because it faced similar financial challenges. Officials there created an authority that provides quality healthcare for all in its metro area, he said.
At previous forums, Dr. Gregory Ayers, president-elect of the Jefferson County Medical Society, and Dr. Mark Wilson, head of the Jefferson County Department of Health, said the county can use indigent care funds to pay for primary care doctors at existing community organizations to help Cooper Green patients. Even patients with chronic conditions have to wait as long as six months before they can see a doctor, according to news and patient reports.
The next forum focuses on ways to implement these suggestions.
It is set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 29, at Watermark Place, 4500 Katie’s Way, Bessemer, AL 35022 (next to Alabama Adventure). 
Panelists include Trimm, Dr. Wilson and a representative from the Medical Society. Invited guests include Commissioner George Bowman, who has advocated a healthcare authority, Commissioner Jimmie Stephens and County Manager Tony Petelos.
This community forum is sponsored by the Cochran Firm and hosted by: Birmingham View Magazine; Weld for Birmingham; The Terminal; Urbanham.com; What’s Happening Birmingham; W.N. Walker Public Relations; the Public Health Network, Inc.; the Social Concerns Committee of Noble Chapel CME Church; the Metro Birmingham Branch of the NAACP; and the Committee to Protect the Homeless.