BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - Hundreds of people took advantage of the open house at Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Friday despite an interruption from a state representative.
"As long as we got somewhere to go get some health care, that means a lot. If you ain't got nowhere to go, you got a problem," Lue Banks said as she underwent a routine health screening.
Jefferson County hopes the event reassures the indigent that quality care is available at the facility.
"Our health system is up and operating and will only get better from this point on," Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said.
Busses brought in elderly from area senior centers as part of Jefferson County Senior Services. That irritated Alabama Rep. Mary Moore who interrupted a television interview with Stephens.
"They are not Cooper Green patients," Moore shouted repeatedly before security escorted her from the building.
Moore accused the county of using the elderly as pawns to make the event look better.
"There is a small, very vocal minority, which you saw, that has quite frankly misled the most vulnerable in our society," Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington said of Moore's outburst.
Not all of the seniors bussed to the open house are patients at the county-owned medical facility. Moore maintains the county has botched Cooper Green's transition from a hospital to an urgent and primary care center.
"Check the health of the 40,000 people you have not seen. You don't have to stage it, abusing our senior citizens who don't know any better," Moore said.
County officials shrug off Moore's claims, saying the elderly were brought in to take advantage of the heath screenings.
"We have a seniors program in Jefferson County. We're bringing some seniors here today so that they can see what is going on here at Cooper Green," Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said.
To see photos from the open house click here.
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