Two years ago Greene County, Alabama, was on the verge of losing
all of its healthcare providers for low-income people.
The closure of West Alabama Health Services happened because of money woes. The county hospital was also losing all of its emergency room doctors, making it also face closure.
However, since that time the hospital has been able to reopen the former clinic in Eutaw, nowstaffed with four doctors.
"Getting people to say they will live in a community with 2,500 people
is very difficult. However, the whole community rallied around the doctors who expressed an interest and came to them one by one
and said we want to be a part of keeping you here," said hospital administrator Bob Coker.
One group that helped was the county commissioners who agreed to charge the clinic $1 a year rent for the building for the next 25 years. Hospital officials say the city of Eutaw was also very supportive.
"We want industry to come to Greene County and Eutaw," said Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele. "They realize and we realize that the hospital is vital to industry as to the people of this community."
"The community depends on the healthcare here," said Dr. Adnan Seljuki. "If you don't provide the comfortable atmosphere for the doctors then they're not going to stay."
Currently, hospital officials are working with the University of Alabama to provide eye care at the clinic. If all goes well, an optometrist will be on staff by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, part of the clinic's long-range goal is to attract a dentist to the area, something that would cost $250,000, money that they say they don't have.