Blountstown - Liberty Hospital Back on its Feet

Financial problems have been threatening the health of the Calhoun-Liberty Hospital in Blountstown for several months. But the hospital's board may have arranged an emergency treatment Tuesday night that will pull the facility out of the red.

Hospital board members went back before the Calhoun County commission, looking for some financial support for the facility. It didn't take them very long to get what they were looking for.

With very little discussion, the board unanimously voted to give the hospital a $350,000 grant. Citizens gave a standing ovation once the vote passed.

This comes on top of a $600,000 loan approved by the Blountstown City Commission Monday night.

The nearly $1 million will give the board a huge jumpstart for constructing a new hospital. Board members hope the new hospital can offer upgraded technology, stronger services, and more doctors.

Even though this is a significant chunk of money the county is handing over, Laddie Williams, who is the chairman of the hospital board, believes it will be well worth it in the long-run.

"Medicare, Medicaid takes quite awhile in turnover time. So this is what we're need the money for, to bridge the gap. It's a bridge."

Williams says this cash flow will help bridge the gap of about three months that it takes now for Medicare and Medicaid payments.

But he says the biggest advantage is having a reputable hospital close by, saving time, and perhaps lives, by not having to drive to the big hospitals in Panama City or even Tallahassee.

The groundbreaking is expected in about two years, and the new facility is expected to be opened in four years.