A hospital serving one of Alabama's poorest and most rural counties is scheduled to close by month's end.
George Alford, board chairman of Camden's J. Paul Jones Hospital, tells WSFA-TV that the hospital is losing $1 million annually. He says the hospital struggles with falling population, poverty and cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.
Board members plan to convert the hospital to an urgent care center and continue operating ambulance service in Wilcox County. As many as 40 employees could lose jobs. Governor Kay Ivey, a Camden native, says there isn't much she could do to save the hospital. Alabama's Republican leaders have opposed expanding the state-federal Medicaid program to cover more people. It would be the sixth Alabama rural hospital to close since 2010, University of North Carolina researchers say.