BAY COUNTY, Fla. - It's a crisis plaguing areas East of the Hathaway bridge... doctor's offices and health care providers impacted by Hurricane Michael are closing up shop.
As the options of where you can go for medical care continue to shrink, patients are worried about where they can get treated for their everyday ailments.
Nation's Best health care is set to close December 10th, but they said they don't know when and if they'll be back.
"Our hands are tied. We don't know what to do, where to go," said patient, Charles Owens.
It's a common theme post-Hurricane Michael. Less and less healthcare options are available in the impacted areas. Dr. Roman Nation of Nation's Best health care said they've been running 7 days a week since October 17th
"There was some damage inside the building as far as water damage goes, but it wasn't catastrophic," said Nation.
Damage can clearly be seen on the outside of the building and on the ceiling, but they've been able to see patients out of the facility no problem. However, that will soon change. The landlord told Dr. Nation that insurance won't cover the damages.
"We ended up getting some other people involved and had come to find out that it wasn't exactly true. So after that conversation, the next thing we knew was we got a notice from one of their legal offices stating that we needed to cease operations," said Nation.
Dr. Nation received a notice stating they need to be out by December 10th in order to start repairs. Nation told News 13 the notice leaves him questioning the future of his practice in Panama City.
"We need to have a timeline because I can't relocate to a place one without a place to go and two, do I need to move for 3 months, 6 months, or are we talking permanently? They could never offer me any further information," Nation said.
After calling, texting and emailing the landlord and the attorneys who sent the notice, he's left with questions and wants answers.
News 13 reached out to the landlord and the law offices of Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC who are representing him and they have released this statement:
"Dr. Nation a tenant of the property, has implied that Dr. Kenawy and Mr. Amir Zafar are seeking to evict him and his medical practice without concern for the medical needs of Bay County’s citizens when he knows this is the furthest thing from the truth.
The building occupied by Dr. Nation, is also occupied by Dr. Kenawy’s after-hours urgent care as well as other medical professionals. It was discovered after Hurricane Michael the building suffered damage which allowed for water intrusion and mold growth which put employees and patients at serious health risk by exposing them to the mold. Alexandria Holdings was advised by the remediation and building contractors no work could be performed while the building was occupied. Dr. Nation has refused to temporarily vacate the building despite the serious safety concerns. Accordingly, Alexandria Holdings made the very difficult decision to temporarily close the building to all tenants for the health and safety of the public and employees while critical repairs are made and mold remediation can be completed. This temporary closure affects Dr. Kenawy’s own pediatric after-hour care practice and several others who provide medical services at the Mediplex.
Remediation and repairs are to begin this week and will be made as quickly as possible. Businesses will be allowed to reopen once all mold has been removed from the building and we are confident the facility is safe for the employees and public. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we rebuild like many others in Bay County."
Long-time patients said they are concerned about the office closing when they need it the most. "We need our medicine. Where are we going to go? The Hurricane took out a bunch of doctor's offices around here where are we going to get the medicine that we need to survive on," said Owens.
Dr. Nation said he didn't just run his practice post storm but also opened his doors to other doctors in the area. "There's people in the city that need help and need care and we were providing that and we also kind of bridged the gap for other physicians that didn't have a place to go," he said.
Now, Nation's Best health care joins the long list of closed businesses following Hurricane Michael.
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