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Calhoun Liberty Hospital Reconstruction Moving Forward

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State and local officials broke ground on a new two-story facility for the Calhoun Liberty Hospital on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.

Construction work for a new hospital in rural Calhoun County has begun.

When the new medical center opens in 2022, it will replace the existing facility, which hasn’t been fully operational since Hurricane Michael damaged it more than two years ago, said Christina Jepsen, CEO of Calhoun Liberty Hospital.

“It is an hour anywhere for care from here,” Jepsen said. “It’s very, very important that we get this hospital up and running, and that we expand our services.”

The expanded facility will open in 2022.

For more than two years, the hospital has been operating at less than half of its pre-storm capacity. It only has 10 beds and serves residents in Calhoun, Liberty, Jackson and Gulf Counties. The hospital lost 15 of its beds when part of the facility was closed off due to hurricane damage, Jepsen said.

The new two-story hospital will have 25 beds, two operating rooms, physical and respiratory therapy, wound care and IV therapy, Jepsen said. "It will be much nicer and much easier for patients to receive services here."

Before the hurricane, the hospital was one of the rural county’s largest employers, said Kristy Terry, executive director of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.

“Currently the hospital is kind of limping along,” Terry said. “They do have the ER open.”

Due to the hospital’s reduced capacity, the medical center had to cut its staff by about 30% immediately after the storm, Terry said.

“That increased slowly over time, but we hope that once a new facility is constructed that those jobs can be brought back.”