Investors hold hearing in Chilton County to outline plans to reopen medical center

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CHILTON, Ala. (WIAT) — The Chilton Medical Center (CMC) was forced to close after numerous building code violations were found. Financial woes also played a major factor in the hospital closing.

Since it closed nine months ago, people in Chilton County have had to travel to other counties when they need medical attention.

Investors held a public hearing to outline their plan to purchase the property, renovate it and reopen the medical clinic on Thursday evening.

Many of the people in attendance came to hear from Joel Burdette and his partner, Billy McKenzie.

Some who attended the meeting say they not only want the facility, but they also say they need the facility.

“We’re here really just to convey our plan, what we’ve been doing since February — actively trying to restore healthcare to Chilton County,” Burdette said.

For many people in the county, their lives were completely changed when their main source of healthcare was shut down.

“I’m not the kind that can ask for help. I want to do for myself,” said Rachel Lowrey, a former CMC patient. “As long as that hospital was over there, I knew that I could do for myself.”

Convenience isn’t the only factor, though. Lowrey believes she’s been suffering from depression since last October.

“It seems like my hope is gone,” she added. “It seems like I’ve been more depressed since it’s been gone.”

The facility remains saddled with millions of debt and liens, but Burdette says they are hoping to receive answers to those problems at a court hearing later in July.

According to Burdette, an emergency facility could be open by the end of the year if things go well.

There is another plan in the works in addition to the one the investors are pursuing.

The Chilton County Commission is asking the state legislature for a once cent sales tax to fund a new hospital facility elsewhere in the county.

The outcome of that request will not be known until the start of the next legislative session.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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