JeffCo must report how it uses Indigent Care Fund under new law - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

JeffCo must report how it uses Indigent Care Fund under new law

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A bill that will make it law for Jefferson County to report how it is spending funds for medical care for the indigent is awaiting the signature of Governor Robert Bentley.

A part of all sales taxes generated in Jefferson County goes to the Indigent Care Fund, which provides for care for the poor. County officials have estimated that cost to be more than $40 million.

"We could not get the information. We passed a bill saying on a quarterly basis they must report every dime. Where it is going? Who is being paid? How much is in the fund?" said Representative John Rogers.

Rogers has been a vocal critic of Jefferson County officials over their decision to stop running Cooper Green Mercy as a hospital and let it become a primary and urgent care facility.

Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said he has no problem with the law, but does not believe it's necessary.

"We have an audit that is done every year. All of that information is in the audit and available," Petelos said.

Rogers said some hospitals in Birmingham wanted the information because they were not being paid in a timely fashion for treating patients who were no longer seen at Cooper Green Mercy Health Services.

"There is a stinking suspicion the county might be squirreling the money away in the general fund budget. We don't know," said Rogers.

Jefferson County officials have continued to deny they are spending indigent care funds on other county services.

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