By the Associated Press
CARROLLTON, Ala. — Pickens County Medical Center, located in rural west Alabama near the Mississippi line, will become the latest state hospital to shut down when it closes for good on Friday, news outlets reported.
The Pickens County Health Care Authority announced the shutdown in a news release that said the hospital’s finances were no longer sustainable. It cited too few patients, reduced federal funding, and large numbers of uninsured patients.
The shutdown of the hospital, which opened in 1979, will be a twofold blow since residents will lose both their closest option for health care and jobs. About 200 people work at the hospital, making it one of Pickens County’s largest employers, according to its website.
The shutdown is only the latest in a wave of hospital closings nationwide. The Alabama Hospital Association said 17 privately run hospitals have closed in the state over the last decade, and only one of those reopened.
Carrollton is located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Birmingham. The city of roughly 1,000 people is about halfway between Tuscaloosa and Columbus, Mississippi, which both have hospitals. Pickens County has a population of about 20,200.