Bay Medical Center Moves One Step Closer to Signing the Lease

By: Amber Southard Email
By: Amber Southard Email

Panama City - We're learning more about the proposed 40 year lease of Bay Medical Center to the Sacred Heart Group. Bay Medical Center, Sacred Heart, and LHP executives were in town Wednesday with the media and county commissioners explaining the lease agreement.

The CEO's announced the lease negotiations are now completed, but several boards still have to approve the deal. Sacred Heart and the LHP Group say they're pleased with the proposed lease, which would keep them in bay county for several years.

"We tend to make a commitment and stick to it, so i hope that's reassuring to see that track record in place and we intend to be here as soon as we can be and stay a long time," said Laura Kaiser, Sacred Heart CEO.

They say the joint agreement will eliminate bay medical centers debt along with $10 million in interest payments that will help generate cash flow.

"We're going to have the benefit of being a lot bigger organization with access to a lot more resources, but at the same time focus on the issues that drive growth," said Jim Shannon, LHP Executive.

All three groups say the core roster of employee's jobs will remain the same, but admit future consolidation between the hospitals could mean some changes.

"As new services are added I think the jobs within the organization will change and will shift around in the organization, but we feel confidant that we're going to be growing the business and therefore growing the job space," said Shannon.

"Bay Medical will be apart of our health ministries and to look for ways to have our associates continue to be active here at bay medical center or in sacred heart in total and that will unfold in the years to come," said Kaiser.

The board of trustees will approve the lease and send it to the Bay County Commission. If commissioners do not approve the lease, the issue would go to the voters in the form of a referendum.

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