New Hospital Coming to Panama City Beach
The St. Joe Company, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Inc. and the Florida State University College of Medicine announced their intent to develop a health care campus in Panama City Beach, Florida on April 8, 2021. The campus is planned to be located on an 87-acre parcel near the intersection of State Highway 79 and Phillip Griffitts Sr. Parkway, just minutes from the Latitude Margaritaville Watersound community, the 55-and-better community which is planned for 3,500 homes. The medical facility will complement the community.
The parties have executed a letter of intent to jointly plan and develop the campus to initially include an ambulatory and urgent care center. Future development plans include the construction of an Emergency Center and 100-bed inpatient facility offering services such as: gastroenterology, urology, gynecology, cardiology and general surgery among others. The parties intend to create a local fiduciary governance structure for the planned campus.
“Panama City Beach and the surrounding area have experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. We anticipate that trend to continue as more people discover that it is a year-round destination and a great place to live,” said Jorge Gonzalez, President and CEO of St. Joe. “Convenient access to quality health care services is vital to the success of a growing region. The creation of this planned health care campus will enhance the quality of life for local residents and provide tremendous opportunities for the entire region.”
“This planned health care campus is so exciting as it will allow for a great opportunity for job creation in Panama City Beach and Bay County,” said Mark Sheldon, Mayor of Panama City Beach. “I would like to welcome TMH and FSU to the world’s most beautiful beaches and I look forward to this asset for our citizens and visitors alike.”
TMH currently serves 17 counties in Florida and Georgia. This would be its first facility in Bay County. “High-quality health care with a focus on wellness is a foundational component of an active community,” said Mark O’Bryant, President and CEO of TMH. “On behalf of Tallahassee Memorial, we are excited to work with St. Joe and FSU on this monumental project. Together, we have the opportunity to create an outstanding training and research platform for the people of Northwest Florida.”
FSU intends to utilize the campus for research opportunities focused on successful aging and senior living technology as well as residency programs and educational rotations for its students and students from FSU Panama City. “We are very pleased to work with St. Joe and TMH to help create and support the health care future for Panama City Beach and the surrounding area including the nearby Latitude Margaritaville Watersound community,” said John P. Fogarty M.D, Dean of the Florida State University College of Medicine. “This is an exciting project that capitalizes on the ability of TMH to provide cutting edge care and FSU to expand the educational and research opportunities and to recruit the next generation of health care providers to the region.”
The parties intend to break ground on the project as early as 2022.
Bay County Commissioner Philip “Griff” Griffitts said it’s exciting to see the project gain momentum after being discussed a long time. “The simple fact that residents maybe will not have to travel outside the area to get quality medical care is really a benefit for everybody who lives within a few counties, not just Bay County,” Griffitts said. “Those surrounding counties, right now, they all come to our hospitals anyhow … so this is just one more piece to that puzzle.” He added that it will be “amazing” because it will serve as a teaching hospital and draw more “young, critical-thinking doctors” to the area who will be the “future of the medical field.”
Mayor Mark Sheldon also discussed the new medical facility at the last council meeting. “Today was a really big day for Panama City Beach,” Sheldon said. “I’m overwhelmed and overexcited … getting a hospital for Panama City Beach is something that’s been crucial to many of us … there’s been many meetings and many hours spent to get to where we are today. Today’s (announcement) is a giant step forward for Panama City Beach.”
Mayor Sheldon is also excited about how the teaching aspect of the facility will have an impact on the area. “It’s not just going to be Tallahassee Memorial (HealthCare), it’s also FSU’s medical school,” he said. “Panama City Beach will now become a destination for people (who) want … to learn more about medicine. It’s just a great opportunity for us.”