News & Media
The Weems Memorial Medical Clinic in Carrabelle, in cooperation with Oneblood.org, will hold a Blood Drive on Saturday, June 27 from 8 am to 1 pm. All donors will receive a free T-Shirt and a wellness checkup including blood pressure, temperature, iron count, pulse and cholesterol screening. To make an appointment, please visit www.oneblood.org/donate-now and use sponsor code 59530. All donors will also be eligible to receive a free Covid-19 antibody test. Donors must be 16 years old to participate.
Franklin County’s ambulances will receive equipment upgrades this month thanks to a $55,000 EMS grant awarded to George E. Weems Memorial Hospital recently by the Florida Department of Health EMS Trust Fund. The grant will enable the hospital to purchase three LUCAS Compression Systems for the county’s ambulance fleet. The grant also funds the purchase of five Lifepak CR2 AEDs which will be placed throughout the county facilities.
“This will help us update our equipment in all of our ambulances and provide additional life-saving equipment all across the county,” said David Walker, Weems CEO.
The LUCAS device is a mechanical chest compression device that helps lifesaving teams deliver chest compressions to sudden cardiac arrest patients; in the field, on the move and in the hospital. The chest compression systems will be in each of the ambulances stationed in Apalachicola, Eastpoint and Carrabelle.
An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It is a medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. The defibrillators will be housed at the D.W. Wilson Sports Complex and the Franklin County Courthouse annex in Apalachicola, at the Vrooman Park in Eastpoint, the Will S. Kendrick Sports Complex in Carrabelle and Chillas Hall in Lanark Village.
“The approval of this grant is the first step for the community CPR initiative that EMS has begun with the support of David Walker and Weems Hospital” said Richard Lewis, Franklin County EMS Director.
Franklin County officials learned Friday, May 8, that George E. Weems Memorial Hospital has received $3 million out of a $10 billion federal distribution fund for rural hospitals as part of a federal CARES Covid-19 Response allocation.
“COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere and will be a way of life for our communities,” said Weems Interim CEO David Walker. “This funding opportunity provides a much needed revenue boost to rural and Critical Access Hospitals throughout the country. Like many other hospitals, especially small rural and Critical Access Hospitals, Weems felt the pinch financially during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Walker said.
Weems is included in a $10 billion rural distribution which includes rural Acute Care general hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics and Community Health Centers located in rural areas. Weems is a rural Critical Access Hospital.
Weems is among 200 rural providers in Florida who will share more than $1 billion allocated to Florida’s rural facilities according to the US Health and Human Services announcement.
According to the federal formula, Weems will receive a minimum base payment plus a percent for annual expenses. The expense-based method accounts for operating cost and lost revenue incurred by rural hospitals for both inpatient and outpatient services. The base payment will account for rural hospitals with no reported Medicare claims by ensuring that clinical, non-hospital sites receive a minimum level of support no less than $100,000, with additional payments based on operating expenses. Rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals will receive a minimum level of support of no less than $1 million with additional payment based on operating expenses.
For Weems, which operates the hospital, two rural health
clinics and the ambulance services for the County, the amount of annual
expenses total about $8.8 million per year. “With the loss of revenue and
increased expenses due to our COVID-19 Response, this funding will aid our
continuing efforts to prevent, prepare and respond to COVID-19,” according to
According to the US Department of Health and
Human Services announcement, rural hospitals, many of whom were operating on
thin margins prior to COVID-19, have also been particularly devastated by this
pandemic. “As healthy patients delay care and cancel elective services, rural
hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open,” the announcement stated.
Franklin County Commissioners voted Thursday to enter into negotiations with Alliant and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital to manage Weems Memorial Hospital.
The move was recommended by the Weems Hospital Board of Directors.
Doug Creamer, chairman of the board of directors, said they recommended Alliant because it allows the county to keep the current hospital and medical clinics and also allows the hospital to continue to manage the local ambulance service.
The other option was Ascension Sacred Heart, but the board did not like their proposal which would have required the county to convert the hospital into a free-standing Emergency Room with patients going to the Sacred Heart hospital in Port St. Joe.
The Ascension proposal would have also required the county to hire a management company for the ambulance service.
Creamer said the board put a lot of hours into their recommendation and realize that neither choice would make everyone happy.
County commissioners were unanimous in their desire to keep the hospital in operation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when every hospital bed is needed.
At this point the county is only opening negotiations with Alliant/TMH so they do not what the costs will be.
The board named County coordinator Michael Moron and Weems CEO David Walker to head up the negotiations.