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Half-cent sales surtax passes for Doctors Memorial Hospital

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 5:30 PM CST
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HOLMES COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Asking a community to voluntarily pay more taxes is no easy feat.

“It took a tremendous amount of work and I’m extremely proud of our team,” CEO of Doctors Memorial Hospital Huy Nguyen said.

But, Doctors Memorial got it done. Voters approved the half-cent-sales surtax Tuesday. The revenue will go toward paying back the bonds that helped build this modern hospital.

“That surtax will certainly help us meet that debt load and in doing so, it frees us up to do more in terms of providing care for the community,” Dr. Nguyen said.

With a lighter debt load, hospital leaders say this allows the hospital to improve its care.

“We feel so good about what we can do now with this burden lifted, so to speak,” Board Member of Doctors Memorial Cynthia Brooks said. “Spruce it up, or replace equipment that needs replacing, fixing equipment that needs fixing.”

Doctors Memorial wants to continue offering care to those who can’t afford it while also growing as a hospital. This includes adding a brand-new ICU and extending the reach of its care.

“With this sales tax, we’re on very firm footing to grow,” Dr. Nguyen said. “One of the things I’m going to tell people in the community is this, watch what we do in the next 6 months.”

Hospital staff says by growing, this allows them to have the tools to compete with the best rural hospitals around.

“We’re here, we’re local, and we can take care of it,” Brooks said. “We can take care of a lot more things than we used to be able to.”

“This hospital has all the foundation to be in my mind the best rural hospital in America,” Dr. Nguyen said.

The tax will kick in on January 1st and will end in December of 2026.

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