Rural healthcare has always been a big concern in northwest Florida, but several communities have been making strides to improve their hospitals, offering more and more services to residents in their communities.
Holmes County may not being growing by leaps and bounds, but it seems the county may have outgrown its nearly 50-year-old hospital.
Robert Winkler, Administrator of Doctor’s Memorial Hospital in Bonifay, says, “We love the place and we hate to leave it in many ways, but we need a new one to expand to have a modern environment.”
The new proposed hospital would cost at least $14 million. In reality it wouldn’t cost Holmes County taxpayers anything. Administrator Robert Winkley says it would not obligate the citizens of the county to pay anything.
“The hospital would be obligated to pay back its debt out of operating earnings in order to build a new facility.”
Hospital officials would issue bonds and obtain loans to foot the bill on the project.
By law the hospital can only get $175,000 in financing. It will be up to the voters in Holmes County to pass a referendum allowing Doctors Memorial Hospital to obtain the extra funding.
The vote will be done by mail and the ballots will be sent out on September 28. All a voters needs to do is check yes or no. It’s not two or three people running for office. It’s the first time an election would be held exclusively by mail in Holmes County.
The hospital will hold a fish fry to promote public awareness about the referendum. The event starts at 4 p.m. Friday at the Rec Center in Bonifay.