Cooper Green began in 1972 as a 319-bed acute care facility located adjacent to UAB Hospital. In August of 2012, Jefferson County Commissioners voted to close the Cooper Green inpatient units to reduce the drain on the County’s budget. Cooper Green was then converted to an outpatient, multi-specialty clinic where it continues to serve the County’s most vulnerable citizens.
Through the years, UAB Health System (UABHS) has partnered with Cooper Green by providing diagnostic tests and other procedures that are not provided on-site. Additionally, many Cooper Green clinics are staffed by UAB faculty, and medical residents receive training at the facility.
In January of 2018, the consulting firm Manett, Phelps, and Phillips presented a report to the Jefferson County Commission recommending that the commission build a new facility for Cooper Green, concluding that the estimated cost would be similar to the $40-$50 million required to improve the existing facility. The report also urged the commission to get out of the healthcare business, and instead turn over operations to a University Healthcare Authority..
In October of 2018, the Commission asked County Manager Tony Petelos to formally approach UABHS to help determine a plan for the future of Cooper Green.
On April 18, 2019, the Jefferson County Commission passed a resolution in agreement with the UAB Health System to begin a due diligence period to focus on creating a University Healthcare Authority to help manage Cooper Green Mercy Health Services. By passing the resolution, Jefferson County and UAB Health System can have more detailed discussions on how a transition would occur under the new Authority.
Under the agreement passed by the Jefferson County Commission on November 12, 2019, the transition to the new University Healthcare Authority will begin in April 2020. UABHS and the Jefferson County Commission will use the time prior to April 2020, to ensure the transition is smooth and as beneficial as possible for both patients and employees.
During an initial two-year phase, Jefferson County and UABHS will work together in an arrangement to maximize the impact of the indigent care fund while additional data is collected and studied to establish a long term, sustainable financial arrangement that is best for Cooper Green patients, employees, and the community.
This initial phase will allow both the County and UABHS to get a better idea of costs and patient outcomes that can be achieved under a large health system with extensive expertise and buying power.
Getting a more accurate picture will allow the County and UABHS to move to the next phase with more understanding about how to maximize indigent care funds for the benefit of Cooper Green patients.
In the second phase, UABHS will have the financial risk for the medical services provided to the patients enrolled in Cooper Green’s Health First program.
A board of directors has been named by the Jefferson County Commission and UABHS to oversee the new Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority. Those members include:
- Reagan Durant, MD, MPH, Chief of Cooper Green Medical Staff and UAB Division of Preventive Medicine Physician
- Raheel Farough, UAB Health System Vice President of Managed Care and Venture Support
- John Henry, Jefferson County Commission Chief Financial Officer
- Joe Knight, Jefferson County Commissioner, Chairman of Finance Committee
- Kimberly Payne, RN, MSHA, UA Health Services Foundation, Associate Vice President of Ambulatory Services
- Tony Petelos, Jefferson County Manager and CEO
- David Randall, UAB Health System Chief Strategy Officer