Hospital board will vote on labor and delivery proposal Monday

Published 1:31 pm Friday, February 28, 2014

Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s board is expected to vote Monday on a proposal to keep labor and delivery in Demopolis.

A special task force charged with saving labor and delivery will propose an independently operated women’s pavilion as a longterm solution, according to Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson.

“I don’t think anyone on that task force was interested in doing the same old, same old,” Grayson said. “We feel in order for this to work, we had to come up with something creative, out-of-the-box, that has never been done.”

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The women’s pavilion would be a joint venture between the hospital, doctors and the city but operate as a separate entity. The pavilion would also offer obstetrics, gynecology and women’s preventive medicine.

“We feel these additional services would help capture some of the market that is going out of town,” Grayson said. “The facility would be dedicated totally to women.”

Whatever is done, Grayson said the new pavilion couldn’t be a financial drain on the city or hospital.

The task force’s proposal is expected to include a proposed sales tax increase to pay for the pavilion. A property tax increase has also been debated during the past two months.

“We have to be committed to this longterm on this,” Grayson said. “It doesn’t really tickle me to have an increase in any kind of taxes.”

Grants and other funding sources will also be sought, according the mayor.

If the hospital board approves the task force’s proposal, Grayson said he would then hold a town hall meeting to discuss specifics.

“I have no reason to think they won’t give us the green light. That’s when the real work will begin,” he said.

For the short-term, the pavilion would likely have to use the existing labor and delivery unit at BWWMH.

“We have a short-term plan and a long-term,” Grayson said. “We would use the existing facilities while we embark on renovations on an outside building.”

Grayson said the pavilion would provide a “feeder system” for the hospital and should boost the local economy.

“Merchants should be excited because we are going to have people coming here for medical care,” he said.