Checking the pulse on Greenville's purchase of Stabler Hospital

Checking the pulse on Greenville's purchase of Stabler Hospital
It's been four months since L.V. Stabler Hospital in Greenville was taken over by the city. Changes are in the works. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - More than four months ago, the City of Greenville reached the point of no return with L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital. It was Nov. 1  when Mayor Dexter McLendon led the charge to take over. He's had no regrets.

"Things are starting to come together," McLendon said Tuesday. What was once bleeding red has now turned the corner to stability.

The purchase price was $2.8 million, part of the half-cent sales tax is being used to help pay for the loan needed to buy the hospital. From outward appearances, it looks as though nothing has changed. Not so, according to the mayor.

"In the last three weeks, we've interviewed three physicians. One of them is a specialist," the mayor explained.

The 72-bed hospital had been losing $2.5 million a year in recent years. With UAB lending its know-how in helping to manage the hospital, Mayor McLendon is convinced the hospital is here to stay.

"UAB brings a lot to the table and you can imagine their expertise has really helped us," he said.

There've been no layoffs, no significant hirings. The physical expansion of Stabler Memorial is a 'maybe' but not right now.

"Bumping out walls at this point, we aren't ready to do that," said CEO Donny Rentfro. "We really want to take care of what we have."

There's also talk of a name change, something that would reflect the hospital's goal of becoming more regional in the sense of being the place for medical care for towns such as Georgiana and Evergreen.

McLendon says he checked with family members of longtime doctor L.V. Stabler and they have given the city their blessing to do what's best for the hospital.

The mayor says the name change will likely come in the summer, though it's not clear what that name would become.

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