Baptist Health holds town hall Monday



In an effort to hear public concerns and questions regarding plans for Fishermen’s Community Hospital and its future, Baptist Health South Florida officials are holding a town hall Monday, Aug. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We’d like to share some of our plans for the coming year and beyond with you,” says a post on the Fishermen’s Facebook page. “We’d also like to hear your views on healthcare in the Keys,” it says.

The meeting at Marathon Government Center will include a moderated discussion and Q&A session, and will host hospital representatives and community residents.

Over the last two months, a new taxing district in the Middle Keys has been discussed and approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The tax, to roll out in 2019, will help Baptist make up for some of the $33,000 it is reportedly losing each day at the temporary hospital near MM 49 oceanside.

At .5 mills or less, the tax will be levied on homes from MM 47 to 60 and will help pay for indigent care only. The district includes Key Colony Beach and Duck Key. The Monroe County Commission will review the tax every year for 10 years, with the goal of raising $15 million.

July 23 was opening day at the new modular facility on the Fishermen’s Community Hospital grounds.

It replaced a temporary field hospital, which went up 16 days after Hurricane Irma destroyed the hospital Baptist had just bought. The old hospital building is being emptied and will be demolished to make way for a new 40,000 square-foot hospital. An architect has been hired for the $40 million project, according to Fishermen’s CEO Rick Freeburg.

In the meantime, the four-part modular hospital that will serve patients for the next two years is almost ready for in-patient services. The emergency room, lab, pharmacy and respiratory services are up and running. Imaging services include X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and echocardiograms. The 8,000-square-foot modular hospital cost about $5 million.

Once the final two rooms are finished, they will include four outpatient rooms, four inpatient rooms and a cafeteria.

The Marathon Government Center is at 2798 Overseas Highway in Marathon.

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