Hartselle eyes Hoover’s new stand-alone emergency medical facility

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HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) - This week, Alabama's very first stand-alone emergency room broke ground near Birmingham, and people in Hartselle are paying close attention. Hartselle's only hospital closed several years ago, leaving the area without any emergency medical care. Now, local officials are asking why can't Hartselle have a similar facility.

It's a $13.5 million, 24,000 square foot facility that will feature ten treatment rooms and a level 3 trauma center. And Medical West of Birmingham is building it in Hoover. Hartselle Mayor Don Hall says the fact the state would license such a facility opens the door for a smaller but similar facility in Hartselle.

"Well, it hasn't been on the back burner. We've lobbied real strong and heavy to try to get Huntsville Hospital to do something for us here," says Hartselle Mayor Don Hall.

Huntsville Hospital bought the Hartselle Medical Center Hospital right after it closed several years ago. They soon announced it wasn't practical to reopen the facility, leaving Hartselle with no hospital and no emergency medical care. It's the lack of emergency care that keep Mayor Hall awake at night.

"We need some just basic care, after hours, to treat a lot of situations that come up from an accidental cut to car wreck, just get them stabilized and ready to go someplace else," Hall said.

With no h,hospital in Hartselle, Mayor Hall says residents have to go to Decatur and he says many of them are choosing to go to Cullman County for their medical care. But now that the state has licensed its first free-standing emergency department near Birmingham, he says that opens the door for a similar facility to be developed in Hartselle.

With no specific plans in place, there's no estimate on what such a facility would cost to build or operate. But Mayor Hall says it's definitely worth looking into.