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New tax being proposed to help pay off Doctors Memorial Hospital’s debt

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 6:17 PM CDT
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BONIFAY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Water therapy, a full-time MRI machine, and state of the art technology can be found at this rural hospital in Holmes County.

“We have a relatively brand-new hospital with great modern equipment,” Doctors Memorial Hospital MD and CEO Huy Nguyen said. “In order to do that, we took out a $16 million bond.”

Doctors Memorial now struggles to pay the bonds back mainly due to the hospital taking care of patients who are unable to pay for the care.

“You can’t walk in to Walmart and pick up a bunch of stuff off the isle and as you’re walking out say I can’t pay for this but I need it anyhow, you mind if I leave with it, right?” Dr. Nguyen said. “We do that every day, and we’re proud to do that.”

The hospital wants to keep providing care to patients no matter their financial status while using modern equipment, but it needs the communities help.

“On November 3rd, on the ballot you’re going to see there’s a half-cent sales tax to be voted on to put in to play,” Holmes County Resident Angela Dockery said. “It’s a half a cent, that half a cent isn’t really a make it or break it for any of us, but it’s so important to this hospital.”

Being one of the only hospitals in the area, this facility was the difference between life or death for Sherolyn Flournoy after she suffered from a stroke while working.

“I could be in a nursing home now, or crippled and never walk again, or never talk, or anything,” Flournoy said. “But getting quick help from the people here is what saved me, it’s what saved my life.”

Dr. Nguyen says he doesn’t plan to close the hospital doors if the tax doesn’t pass, and he will do everything he can to keep it open. If passed, the tax will start on January 1st, 2021, and will end at the end of 2026.

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