Hospital Trouble

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Some rural hospital employees in the Panhandle are facing some tough times, since they're going without paychecks these days.

Gulf Pines Hospital in Port St. Joe is the only hospital in Gulf County, just east of Panama City. Some of its employees have not been paid in two months, and 24-hour emergency care has been suspended for the past week.

The hospital's problems are due to difficulty obtaining Medicare payments. It is already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, though a new owner is in the wings.

For now, most patients needing care are being directed to facilities in Panama City. But that's about 45 minutes away.