Leader

Promising Practices: Florida State Office of Rural Health Helps Rural Hospital Modernize

i Oct 1st No Comments by

With its leaking roof, numerous building code violations and lack of modern technology, everyone agreed that Madison County Florida’s 60 year old hospital desperately needed to be replaced. Thanks to a sales tax referendum passed by Madison County residents, and financial assistance from Florida’s State Office of Rural Health, the brand new, state-of-the-art Madison County Memorial Hospital is proof of what can be achieved when residents and local and state officials work together.

“Florida only has 13 Critical Access Hospitals, so we can give them more personal attention and provide funds to entice them to modernize their facility and adopt new technology,” said Florida SORH Director Bob Pannell. When the new hospital was still in the development stage, the Florida State Office provided a $24,000 grant to educate the community on the need for and benefits of building a new hospital.  They also provided more than $500,000 in state and federal grants to the facility since 2005 for capital, quality, and financial performance improvements, assisted the hospital with obtaining a $450,000 rural community development loan from the Governor’s Rural Economic Development Initiative Program, and a $22.54 million rural community facility loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The new Madison County Memorial Hospital opened in August, a welcome addition to one of Florida’s poorest counties. “The new facility gives residents access to the latest standard of care, something the old hospital couldn’t do,” Pannell said. “It’s about twice as big as the old one, and fully modernized with the latest technology. The inpatient rooms are designed to feel like family rooms and are large enough for family members to spend the night. The whole design is a family centered concept.”

Pannell said the new facility will also be used for training student nurses, and is tied-in with a larger economic development plan to bring in new jobs and businesses to the area. “It’s great to be able to help a community that has really been struggling to get something they really need,” he said. “This is the best job I’ve ever had in my 40 year career in healthcare.”

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