PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Mental health facilities were at an all time low after Hurricane Michael. The lack of beds forcing local officers and hospitals to send patients out of the county. But a local Panama City Behavioral Hospital, Emerald Coast is now accepting Baker Act patients for admittance.
This means an individual with mental health issues can be involuntarily committed for 72 hours under Florida’s Baker Act Law.
Emerald Coast has specific sections of their hospital for Baker Act patients.
They treat patients suffering from substance abuse, chemical abuse, and behavioral or emotional issues. The service is provided to all patients of all ages.
Chief Operating Officer of Emerald Coast, Kevin Timmer said they are here to assist the community in whatever ways possible.
“We’re here to help, this community needs assistance and we’re here to help everybody that we can. Whether they’re involuntary or voluntary. If somebody knows they need assistance, please come to us. Go to another facility if you need to, go to the ER if you have to, reach out to whoever you can in the community to get the help that you need,” said Timmer.
Emerald Coast will continue to serve patients in the community and are working with the Bay District School officials to prepare for an increase in Baker Acts with the anniversary of Hurricane Michael.