Alabama hospital to end inpatient, emergency care

Regional Medical Center Health System plans to end inpatient services at Stringfellow Memorial Hospital in Anniston, Ala., and transition the emergency department to its main hospital campus, which is about a mile away, reported March 28. 

RMC Health bought Stringfellow, a 125-bed facility, for $25 million in 2017, but now plans to convert the hospital into an urgent care clinic, according to the report. Stringfellow will continue to perform scheduled surgeries and provide emergency care until the transition — which could take up to a year — is complete. 

RMC Health plans to retain all Stringfellow employees and facilitate their transition to other roles within the health system.

"The transition is about putting patients first and ensuring everyone has the access to the care they need," RMC Health President and CEO Louis Bass said in a news release. "We are confident that these efforts are going to optimize the operations of our facilities and provide a better experience for our patients, physicians and employees. Redistributing our resources in this way will also allow us to invest in updated technology, new healthcare services and new models of care."

The news comes as rural hospitals across the country struggle to shore up their finances and avoid further service cuts, workforce cuts or closures. 

RMC Health-owned facilities employ more than 1,900 employees and over 200 physicians, according to its website. Last year, the Healthcare Authority of Anniston, which governs RMC Health, signed a letter of intent for the system to become an affiliate of UAB Health System. Discussions between the organizations are ongoing.

RMC Health did not respond to Becker's request for comment. 

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