JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Another rural Alabama hospital is shutting down, this time in the northeastern part of the state.
Directors have decided to close RMC Jacksonville at the end of June.
The hospital is operated by the Anniston-based RMC Health System, which says some services will be transferred from Jacksonville to other locations in Anniston. The cities are about 12 miles (19 kilometers) apart.
WBMA-TV reports the announcement Thursday confirmed the fears of hospital employees and weeks of rumors about the future of the facility, which has an emergency room and other services.
The hospital had struggled financially in recent years, and several departments already had closed.
“In today’s volatile health care environment, sustaining under-utilized, high-cost services and facilities is not fiscally responsible,” said a statement by Billy Grizzard, chairman of the authority that operates the hospital.
The hospital is being donated to Jacksonville State University, which has a nursing program and needs additional space following a tornado that damaged campus this spring.
Jacksonville Medical Center opened in 1976 and, after several changes in ownership, was purchased by RMC in 2013.
Jacksonville, with a population the Census Bureau estimates at 12,800, is the latest in a string of small towns to lose hospitals in recent years.
Records provided by the Alabama Hospital Association show 18 hospitals have closed in the state since 2000, and 11 of those were outside the state’s four largest metropolitan areas.