ECHA, ACHB release joint statement on new hospital

Initial process begins for new facility

News Staff Report

Note: The following release was issued last week by Atmore and Escambia County healthcare officials:
“The Escambia County Healthcare Authority and the Atmore Community Hospital Board is pleased to announce that after much input from community leaders, consultants and others, a decision has been made to begin the initial process for pursuing a new healthcare facility for the Atmore Community.
“Atmore Community Hospital is facing the same challenges as other existing rural hospitals in Alabama and throughout the nation. These challenges can only be improved with change to the existing model. In taking a proactive approach to the Hospital’s current status, the decision was made to pursue a new facility with the guidance of a qualified team of highly respected healthcare experts (project group). There are many phases to the process of constructing a new facility, but the first phase of determining facility size, location, financing and securing a certificate of need has begun. The projected timeline for the project is two to three years.
“Since 2015, Infirmary Health has provided management services to Atmore Community Hospital. The Escambia County Healthcare Authority and the Atmore Community Hospital Board appreciates and is extremely grateful for the relationship with Infirmary Health. However, it was decided to exercise the option to terminate the existing long term agreement at this time while new facility needs are determined. The existing agreement provides for a 365-day transition period with IH, during which time the project group will be vetting best options for the management of the existing and new facility.”
In a statement attached to the press release, ECHA Chair Ruth Harrell said hospital officials feel the future of healthcare in Atmore and the surrounding communities is bright and promised to keep the community abreast of developments as the new hospital project moves forward.
“The ECHA and ACH board members are very optimistic about the future for the healthcare of the Atmore Community and are determined to provide the highest quality healthcare services, facilities and staff to its citizens,” Harrell said. “Updates will be provided to the community as this exciting project develops.”
She added that numerous unnamed community leaders played key roles in formulating the plan that was several months in the making.
“As a member of both of these boards, I am very happy to join them in announcing these great opportunities to enhance the availability of quality healthcare services for the Atmore community and surrounding areas,” she said. “This project has been the result of months of study and involvement by various community leaders. I would like to thank everyone who has participated and will be involved as we move forward. Our best regards to all of our citizens.”