by Jan Allred
Despite rumors to the contrary, Mizell Memorial Hospital in Opp, AL has no plans to close the facility. Jana Wyatt, Mizell CEO recently tried to squash the rumors spreading throughout the county that the facility is going to close.
In a recent press release, Wyatt said she felt since the possibility of the hospital closing affects so many people the time had come to address the rumors and put the hospital staff and patients at ease. “We have every intention of staying a strong lifeline in the Covington County area by continuing to provide exceptional care to all patients,” she said. “We are now more than ever committed to meeting the healthcare needs of our community.”
Wyatt admits the hospital has reduced staff and put other salary related cost saving strategies in place, she said these measures were in no way proposed in preparation of closing the hospital. In fact, these measures were implemented to insure the hospital’s well being in these tough economic times.
Mizell will implement a three-month plan in July of a reduced workweek for hourly employees and a 10 percent pay reduction for salaried employees. Wyatt said the strategy corresponds to the typical drop in patient numbers during the summer months. While she said making such a decision to reduce the work week and cut salaried employees pay was difficult, it will help the hospital remain ahead of the curve while the economic recession continues in the area.
A March 2010 survey of all hospitals in Alabama, with 88 hospitals responding, showed that 74 percent of hospitals in the state have already made staff reductions to mitigate economic challenges and 80 percent have made reduction in administrative costs. In the same survey, 58 percent of the state’s hospitals are suffering with declining admissions
due to people postponing elective procedures but ER visits are increasing. However, increased ER visits result in more bad debt and charity care because of the lack of health insurance coverage in the state.
Wyatt said Mizell offers a wide variety of services and can do many procedures and perform care that residents currently seek elsewhere. She said residents can help the hospital make it through these tough economic times but using the many services offered at Mizell when they have to have procedures done. She acknowledged that not all health care services
can be obtained locally but emphasized that many can and if residents chose to have those procedures done locally it will help the hospital plus save them travel time and gas expenses. She said, “that Mizell Memorial Hospital has served this community for over 60 years and the community can help us continue to deliver quality care for many years to come.”
by Jan Allred