J. Paul Jones Hospital in Camden to close, become urgent care clinic

Published: Aug. 9, 2017 at 8:25 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2017 at 9:10 PM CDT
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CAMDEN, AL (WSFA) - Sheila Roe has seen her share of medical miracles over the years on the job as the head nurse at J. Paul Jones Hospital in Camden. Roe is counting on another one in the coming days, the fervent hope something will intervene to save her employer of more than 20 years.

"We're just such a vital part of this community and in such a large area that we serve," Roe said.

But in all likelihood, closure is imminent, according to Hospital Board Chairman George Alford.

'"We want to keep it open but we're losing $1 million a year," Alford said.

Medicaid and Medicare cuts plus a dwindling population in Wilcox County have become too much to bear. With J. Paul Jones closing down, that leaves Wilcox County without a hospital.

"Monroeville, Greenville, Selma and Grove Hill with a 50 mile radius," Alford said.

The move impacts more than 40 employees with Roe being among them.

"I will probably take a little break from nursing and I will look for employment elsewhere," said Roe.

Not all is lost, however. Hospital leaders say they will turn the building into a walk-in urgent care and keep its ambulance service.

60 years ago, long time physician J. Paul Jones fulfilled a dream to start a hospital. 60 years later, those who knew him say they did their best.

"The economy in this county is so bad it's hard to support it," Alford said.

Alford anticipates the hospital to be closed by Sept. 1.

Gov. Kay Ivey is a native of Camden and issued this statement earlier today by email. "The closing of the acute care hospital in Camden is a difficult decision. The hospital's board has committed to provide urgent care 7 days a day, meaning health care will continue to be available to the people of Wilcox County. I am grateful to the staff and the members of the board for providing health care in Camden in the past as well as going forward."

Ivey also added there was not much she could do to keep it open.

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