Push to reopen Searcy Hospital heads to the governor’s office


Dr. Bert Eichold with the Mobile County Health Department is pushing to reopen Search Hospital. Recently, he wrote a letter to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey asking that she considers repurposing the old facility.

“We need to treat the underlying medical problem and we will have better outcome in the behaviors,” he said.

He's just one of many officials pushing to reopen the facility in Mount Vernon. Mobile Metro Jail Warden Trey Oliver says since the hospital closed in 2010 he's seen an increase of mentally ill inmates at the jail. Currently, about 10% of the population in Mobile Metro jail depend on medications to survive, several other inmates others isolated due to mental illness. Eichold said he wants the Alabama Department of Corrections to take over the facility and use it as a place for non-violent offenders to focus on their mental health illnesses’ and job training.

"Make the major emphasis for treating alcohol and substance abuse," Eichold said, "Searcy was designed as a mental health hospital, could it be a mental health correctional facility?"

In his letter to the governor, Eichold requests the governor consider using the old Searcy Hospital buildings. So far, the governor has not responded.

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