Grand Jury Says Chipley Hospital Deal Is OK

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A Washington County grand jury say the county commissioners did nothing wrong in December 2003, when they agreed to a 40-year lease on the hospital with Northwest Florida Healthcare.

A group of Washington County citizens asked the grand jury to investigate the lease, which calls for the county to invest several million dollars in the facility. Commissioners chose that option over a bid by Resurgence Healthcare out of Georgia, which was willing to pay the county for the lease.

Apparently, according to Assistant State Attorney Joe Grammer, III, the grand jury felt the Northwest Florida Healthcare deal was in the county's best interest.

“The findings of the Grand Jury included information as to the increased basis of worth of the hospital and improvements that have been made and things of that nature, so it's a thorough investigation done by the Washington County Grand Jury and I think the matter should be closed at this point."

Last July an appeals court upheld an earlier decision by Circuit Court Judge Glen Hess, who ruled county commissioners acted properly.