PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Plans for PruittHealth's new facility in Panama City were made more than a year ago.
"They started building it probably over a year ago, so it's been in the process and in the works for quite a while," said PruittHealth's Administrator, Thomas McDaniel.
Since Hurricane Michael, McDaniel says they're now only a few nursing homes in the area.
"There were seven, four of those are not in operation right now," said McDaniel.
PruittHealth is now one of four functioning facilities like this, and it's just getting geared up.
"We will be ramping up, bringing in patients and hiring staff and getting the whole building filled," said McDaniel.
The need in the community for nursing homes is so great, that PruittHealth officials say they're already planning on adding 24 more rooms to this new facility.
"We have a lot of people that want to come back but we only have, again, 77 beds right now, so we're gonna try to do as much as we can for everybody in the community," said McDaniel.
And give something to the community that McDaniels says it doesn't already have.
"Our aqua therapy pool is specifically for residents or patients that have had either surgery or maybe they had a knee replacement," he explained.
It's not just residents that have access to rehab facilities.
"We will also do outpatient for those that are in the community that don't need the 24-hour nursing care, but just need the rehab after surgery or whatever they might've had," said McDaniels.
Although McDaniels says the facility's amenities are so nice, people might not want to leave.
"Our main goal is to have people come short term, but we're a little concerned that they might not want to go home," said McDaniel.
Usually, when a PruittHeath facility opens up, they host a grand opening, but due to Hurricane Michael, the company donated $40,000 to four local nonprofits for hurricane relief efforts instead.