DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) — A hospital in DeFuniak Springs is one step closer to reality.
A group of doctors came together to purchase the old Healthmark Regional Hospital on Highway 331.
The new emergency room and hospital will be named the North Walton Doctors’ Hospital. As the name states, it is owned by a group of doctors.
“This is the first physician majority-owned and managed hospital in about 15 years,” said Dr. Huy Nguyen, North Walton Doctors’ Hospital. “So I think I think the community is not only going to see great healthcare, but it’s also going to see I think kind of an innovation in that.”
Healthmark Regional shut down due to a lack of funding in 2022.
Since then, patients with medical emergencies traveled to Freeport or further to get treatment.
“Everybody knows how fast and rapid Freeport and DeFuniak Springs is growing and for a community to grow like that without a hospital nearby is obviously a huge weakness and we’re going to fill that weakness very quickly,” said Nguyen.
Doors aren’t open to the public yet, but News 13 got a sneak peek inside with DeFuniak Springs Mayor Bob Campbell. Campbell said having this hospital could mean the difference between life and death.
“You have patients who are very old. Some are very young. These trips mean everything. In other words, if I got to spend 45 minutes an hour en route, they may pass by the time they get there and get the help they need,” said Campbell.
The hospital is looking to hire more than 100 employees in October of 2023. Job postings will be on their website for applications in September.
On Tuesday, Aug 22, the owners will be at the Board of County Commissioners meeting to talk about additional funding sources and the next steps to get the doors open.