FLORENCE — Commissioner Larry Irons said the reason a new hospital needs to be built in Lauderdale County is simple.
"It's not just economic growth, which will happen, but we need it to provide the best medical service possible for our citizens," said Irons during Monday's Lauderdale County Commission meeting.
RegionalCare Hospital Partners has petitioned the State Health Planning and Development Agency to allow a new 300-bed facility in Florence.
The commission voted unanimously Monday to send a letter supporting the proposal to Gov. Robert Bentley, the State Health Care Planning and Development Agency, and the local legislative delegation.
The Florence City Council agreed to send a similar letter last week.
"The current hospital was built in the 1940s, and it's been added on and added on," said Commissioner D.C. Thornton. "It's time for a new hospital."
According to a study by economists at the University of North Alabama, the new medical facility is estimated to have an economic impact on northwest Alabama of $1 billion.
"Despite the economic impact, we need the best medical service we can get," added Commissioner Fay Parker. "Getting a new hospital will mean a lot not only to the county, but this entire region."
Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell said having a new facility is a chance to have a modern medical facility.
"This is a major issue for the stabilization for medical care in our area," Mitchell said.
Irons said the new facility would have an impact on residents in southern Tennessee and eastern Mississippi as well as in the Shoals.
In other action, the commission:
changed the work schedule of the highway department to four, 10-hour shifts beginning April 1.
approved an advertisement for Explore the Shoals magazine at the cost of $775, to be paid from tourism money.
increased the mileage rate for employees using their personal vehicles for county business to 56-cents per mile.
approved bids for Herald Printing, and Printer's and Stationers Inc., both of Florence.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.
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