Labor and delivery task force formed, plans first meeting

Published 2:47 pm Friday, January 31, 2014

A newly-formed task force charged with finding a way to save Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s labor and delivery unit will meet Tuesday.

Hospital administrator Mike Marshall and assistant administrator Art Evans will serve on the task force.

Joining them will be delivery physicians Tiffany Ward and Alex Curtis and hospital board members Jim Grantham, Jay Shows and Walter Davis.

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The city of Demopolis’ finance committee, made up of Mayor Mike Grayson and councilmen Charles Jones Jr. and Bill Meador will also serve.

The Chamber of Commerce appointed Elizabeth “Buffy” Etheridge to represent the general public.

The task force idea was first proposed Jan. 22 following a hospital board meeting.

During that meeting, the board approved keeping labor and delivery open 120 days while the task force works to find a longterm funding solution.

The proposal required the city of Demopolis or Marengo County Commission to together provide $68,000 in funding by Friday, Jan. 24 to help cover the cost of keeping labor and delivery open.

The city of Demopolis decided Jan. 23 to advance the money after a joint meeting with the Marengo County Commission. In return, the city asked for more seats on the task force, which the hospital board granted.

The task force will now be required to submit recommendations for saving labor and delivery to the full hospital board by March 17.

After the suggestions are given, the board will have a second meeting within five days to vote on the proposal. If the board can’t pass a plan to save labor and delivery, then the unit will close by April 8.