Pickens County denied funding to reopen its hospital
By WVUA23 Student News Reporter Avery Lake
Pickens County residents and leaders are disappointed to find out the news that their hospital, located in Carrollton, would not receive $8 million in funding from the state so it could reopen. Instead, that money is going to the Port of Mobile.
WVUA 23 News has been following this story since the Pickens County Medical Center closed in March 2020 because of reduced federal funding, lower reimbursements from private investors and high percentages of uninsured patients.
On Friday, Alabama lawmakers discussed the possibility of allocating grant funding to re-open PCMC. Ultimately they decided against it and instead funded the Port of Mobile.
Vicky McCrory of Pickens County EMS has been fighting for funding for the past three years.
“We just found out last week that the funding was denied to possibly reopen the hospital. That has been a huge letdown for everybody in Pickens County,” said McCrory. “We are not aware of a Plan B. Hopefully there are people in power who haven’t forgotten about us and are still trying to make things happen for us.”
McCrory and fellow concerned residents held an informal meeting Wednesday morning, where they discussed their options for what’s next.
“It affects us in numerous ways,” McCrory said. “It affects us financially. When the hospital closed we’re losing a quarter of a million dollars a year. We went from making 12 calls a day to five. So financially it’s a burden on the ambulance service. We’re half staffed at six employees right now. We normally have 12. Anyone who’s transported outside the county means we’re out of service for two to three hours on one transport.”
That lack of ambulances is killing people in Pickens County, first responders say, and two people recently died because ambulances were not available to transport them to the nearest area hospitals.