By Donna Bain
A committee of seven met with Brooks McClendon from the Governor’s office, Susan Wilham from the Alabama State Finance Committee and Alabama State Treasury officials on Thursday, October 27, 2022, in Montgomery to present the petition with over 10,000 names to reopen Pickens County Medical Center. The committee was seeking information about the American Rescue Plan money and trying to take steps to secure the funds to reopen the hospital.
There is a possibility that the hospital could reopen housing a child adolescent psychiatric ward and a fully staffed emergency room.
“We discussed issues about the child adolescent psychiatric ward to be put in the Carrollton hospital which would be coming through the State Mental Health Board and Commissioner Kim Boswell,” said Mayor Mickey Walker. “We presented our case about that. They want a plan to be put in place showing that we are committed to the hospital and also a plan for another hospital to operate the emergency room. This must be done in order to have access to any of the funds. Upon getting those plans, we have a very good chance of being able to get some of the money. The hospital board is supposed to be getting the plans together.”
The state is very interested in mental health and providing those services to communities. The state is seeking mental health care for children and adolescents, and if the board can plead a case for that, it will give Pickens County a better chance at receiving the funding.
“The mental health aspect is the key,” said Walker. “The state is looking for mental health care.”
The mental health care system is lacking in many areas in our state including the treatment of children and adolescents. There is such a need for good, quality care for people with these issues.
“We all went up there to present the case,” said Walker. “Senator Gerald Allen, Ron Bolton and Representative Rodney Sullivan did a tremendous job representing the hospital and the county on this situation. I would like to thank all three of them for helping us. Ron Bolton was very educated on what was going on and was very good on answering questions. I was very proud of him. Senator Gerald Allen and Representative Rodney Sullivan did a great job as well. I would also like to thank Mayor Terrence Windham, Mayor Melody Davis, and Commissioner Jerry Fitch for going with us to Montgomery.”
“We also had a meeting with Allen Bowen from the Community and Business Program USDA Rural Development on options with the hospital as well as with possible grants that they have that can be applied for,” said Walker. “This information will be passed on to the hospital board for them to take action on. We got to meet with Director Gordon and his staff and they were very helpful. There was a phone conference with Teresa Long out of the Tuscaloosa USDA office that was also very helpful.”
The next step is for the hospital board to get their plans together, so they can be presented and to apply for the grants through USDA.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.