A hospital authority is actively working to arrange the purchase of Lakeland Community Hospital in Haleyville. Lakeland has also been granted an operating extension through March 31st.
The city of Haleyville tells WAAY 31 recent developments show promise for keeping the hospital open permanently.
Lakeland Community Hospital
The city tells WAAY 31 elected officials have been working with Java Medical Group to develop a transition plan for Lakeland.
A big part of that plan includes forming the Haleyville Winston County Hospital Authority. That entity would have be the one to acquire and operate the hospital.
The March 31st extension is critical for Lakeland Community Hospital. It gives the authority time to complete a transfer of ownership.
Lakeland Community Hospital is Winston County’s only hospital.
Curae Health owns Lakeland. Last November, WAAY 31 told you about the announcement from Lakeland Hospital’s CEO. Debbie Pace said Curae Health had decided to close its hospital in Haleyville.
Curae blamed declining reimbursements related to ObamaCare. It had accumulated a $2 million loss.
Since that announcement, Lakeland has been operating under an extension that would keep the hospital open through January 31, 2018.
Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri tells WAAY 31 he has been negotiating to keep Lakeland open. As of now, though, Sunseri says there is no final agreement with Curae Health.
Lakeland has 59 beds. Shuttering the facility would affect about 87 employees.
The original plan to close Lakeland would have given employees priority status to fill open positions at other facilities.
Lakeland had announced its medical detox program would move to Russellville Hospital, which Curae also owns.
Now, though, Mayor Sunseri tells WAAY 31 he’s hoping an agreement with Curae Health would bring better news to Haleyville and the Winston County area.
The initial announcement that Lakeland would be closing came without much warning. State Representative Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, is working on introducing a bill requiring hospitals to give more notice if they plan to close a facility. Wadsworth could introduce the bill this legislative session.
Curae has had an affiliation agreement with Huntsville Hospital since 2014. That affiliation applies to physician recruiting, continuing education programs, clinical services and supply purchasing.