Category Archives: Health

Second “Abject Failure” community forum to be held June 25

Photo of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. Courtesy Sharon Phelan Evans.

Tuesday evening brings with it the follow-up to the community forum held late last month about recent changes to Jefferson County’s healthcare system and how they are affecting the area’s poorest residents.

The second gathering, “Abject Failure: Part 2: Finding Solutions to Fix Our Broken Indigent Healthcare System” is being held in the Richard Arrington Auditorium on the fourth floor of the Linn-Henley Research building located across the street from the central branch of the Birmingham Public Library downtown. It’s scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. The forum follows comments made by UAB School of Public Health dean Dr. Max Michael to the Over the Mountain Democrats earlier this month; he called the current situation “a horror story” worthy of a Stephen King novel.

Dr. Gregory Ayers will once again be present, this time filling attendees in on what efforts are being undertaken by area primary care providers in light of the changes made to the county healthcare system.

This community forum is sponsored by The Cochran Firm. This site is serving as a host for the event in addition to Birmingham View Magazine; Weld for Birmingham;; What’s Happening Birmingham; the Metro Birmingham Branch of the NAACP; the Public Health Network; the Social Concerns Committee of Noble Chapel CME Church; and the Committee to Protect the Homeless.

Indigent healthcare community forum to be held May 21

Photo of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. Courtesy Sharon Phelan Evans.There is still a great deal of concern about how Jefferson County’s poorest citizens access and receive healthcare, especially as folks continue to navigate changes made at what is now Cooper Green Mercy Health Services after December 31, 2012. The changes have left the county with an urgent care system labeled by some, including the Jefferson County Medical Society, as an “abject failure” since the beginning of the year.

Dr. Gregory Ayers, the society’s president-elect of the Society and one of the signers of the organization’s statement, and Dr. Mark Wilson, head of the Jefferson County Department of Health, will speak at a community forum on Tuesday evening, May 21, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Five Points West Public Library (directions), located across from the Birmingham CrossPlex. In addition to talking about the organization’s public  written statement, Dr. Ayers will also be discussing proposals to fix the new system.

We are aware of the fact that all members of the Jefferson County Commission and county manager Tony Petelos have also been invited to attend Tuesday evening’s forum.

The forum is being hosted by Birmingham ViewWeld for BirminghamThe TerminalUrbanham.comWhat’s Happening Birmingham; the Metro Birmingham Branch of the NAACP; the Public Health Network; the Social Concerns Committee of Noble Chapel CME Church; and the Committee to Save Cooper Green’s Patient Action and Advocacy Committee.


A new parking location for the VA patients and visitors

New veterans parkingFolks driving into downtown Birmingham along 22nd Street this morning probably noticed a new blue sign or two looking at them as they approached 5th Avenue N. They may have also noticed a lot of folks standing at the corner of 22nd St. and 4th Avenue N., catty-corner from the home of The Birmingham News and

Once you saw the buses pulling up – and did a little digging online – it all started to make sense. As of today, all veterans and visitors utilizing the Birmingham, AL Veterans Medical Center located at 700 19th St. South will need to park on the city’s north side and take shuttles to the facility. There is no cost for them to park in the deck according the VA’s website.

As Mike Tomberlin reported in The News back in January, the VA needed to secure new parking options to replace the 799 spaces they leased from Children’s of Alabama. Their new facility – the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children – opened in early August, necessitating the access to the spaces itself.

The VA’s current solution, the Birmingham Parking Authority’s Parking Deck #4, was built in 1984 and contains 673 spaces. According to a response to a question on the medical center’s Facebook page, the move is a temporary one “until the VA builds its clinical annex.”

UPDATED: Fight for Cooper Green goes national with Reverend Al

UPDATE, 10/6: reported on October 5 that Rev. Sharpton will be in town on October 26. The audience will indeed be larger, not just because of the national attention the civil rights leader will draw, but because it will be the day before the 2012 Magic City Classic at Legion Field.

One of the bigger conversations taking place in metro Birmingham involves the Jefferson County Commission’s plans to change Cooper Green Mercy Hospital from what is primarily an inpatient facility to one that acts more as a hub and spoke outpatient service.

Monday afternoon saw U.S. Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Gen. George Bowman, the Democratic Jefferson County Commissioner for health and general services in the county, bring the national spotlight to the case via an appearance on Keeping It Real with the Rev. Al. Sharpton.

Rep. Sewell publicized the segment in advance via Twitter and posted the interview to her YouTube account on October 3.

During the interview, Sharpton promises Sewell and Bowman that he’ll be making an effort to visit Birmingham and help rally behind efforts to save Cooper Green. He promised his radio audience he would be announcing a date in the near future in addition to bringing up the issue on his television show on MSNBC (which celebrated a year on the air back in August).

Based on the events calendar maintained on the National Action Network website, the date for that appearance in central Alabama has not been determined as of yet. See update above.

A new website was also mentioned during the interview, Save Cooper Green, aimed at providing additional information about efforts to preserve the inpatient unit and reports via indicate there is talk of the December 1 deadline possibly being shifted.

New name. Still teaching. Still growing.

JVTF "entrance" from 7th Ave. N.Jones Valley Urban Farm was re-introduced late last week to members of its email list and visitors to its website as Jones Valley Teaching Farm.

The new name also introduces a new logo to the community – the second such change in recent years for the nationally-acclaimed Northside institution. The note from the organization points out something that few would argue:

…while many people know us for our delicious produce, many don’t know that it’s not the primary function of our organization. Since its inception, our mission has been to empower future generations with an education to eat smarter, think healthier—and live better.

They pointed out that the name change didn’t mean they’d be changing what they were already doing, though they did mention a return of the on-site farm stand and the coming fundraising campaign to help fund new efforts focused on education.

A city dangerous for pedestrians + ranked among least fit?

ThinkingThere may be a correlation between two reports released in recent weeks looking at Birmingham, AL and our metro area’s level of fitness.

Last week The Atlantic published a piece by Richard Florida, one of their senior editors best known for his book The Rise of the Creative Class (affiliate link) and the accompanying website. It focused on the results of this year’s American College of Sports Medicine‘s American Fitness Index, an index that included Birmingham, AL.

The report points out that metro Birmingham, although ranking 47th out of 50 areas examined in this study, contains more farmers markets and more park units per capita than the other cities though most of it sits outside of the urban areas.

The folks over at the Living Streets Alliance pointed out the striking correlation between those cities with high percentages of commuting to work by bike and those cities that were among considered the most fit in the index. The results of a report referenced recently by The Birmingham News could also be looked at as a reason for our metro area’s fitness ranking – it lists the Birmingham-Hoover metro area as the 16th most dangerous for pedestrians in the country (with 136 between 2000-2009).

It’s not like metro Birmingham hasn’t started trying to address the issues including Railroad Park’s “Get Healthy on the Railroad” and the Our One Mile initiatives.

Photo: Thinking. Max Wolfe/Flickr.

Learn how to Save a Life on Saturday

Red_Cross_LogoThe Birmingham area chapter of American Red Cross will be one of more than 100 participating in the Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life nationwide event this Saturday, March 19.

Attendees will receive free abbreviated training courses on hands-only CPR, the treatment of shock and how to treat wounds (classes normally valued at at least $25). According to the page created for the event, the recent events in Arizona “reminded the nation of the importance of being prepared in the event of an emergency,” particularly in the area of first-aid training.

This will give many their first opportunity to visit the local chapter’s new headquarters (114 22nd Street South).

The classes are being sponsored nationally by Safeway and Walgreens (whom The Birmingham News recently reported will move forward to renovate the former Engine No. 22 fire station on Clairmont Avenue as part of plans to construct a new location for the pharmacy company on the adjacent property).