$500K in Additional Improvements Planned for Jay Hospital

Posted on April 9, 2024 by Romi White

Jay Town Manager Eric Seib (back row, left), Santa Rosa County Commissioners (Kerry Smith, Ray Eddington,  and Sam Parker), County Liaison Officer Kyle Holley, Commissioner James Calkins, and representatives from Baptist Health Care: External Relations Vice President Jennifer Grove, Community Impact and Government Relations Manager Sara Lefevers (back row),  Jay Hospital Asst. Administrator Debra Jenkins, Jay Hospital Administrator Keith Strickland (back row) and Cyd Cadena, Sr. Vice President of Operations. Photo by Romi White.

Representatives from the Town of Jay and Baptist Health Care attended the April 8 Santa Rosa County Commission meeting in Tiger Point for a discussion about planned improvements at Jay Hospital.

District 3 Commissioner James Calkins called the proposed improvements “exciting” and praised a team effort between the Town of Jay, Baptist Health Care and Santa Rosa County.

Mark Faulkner, President & CEO of Baptist Health Care, sent an April 3 letter to Calkins, seeking $500,000 toward improvements, including:

  • Increasing the height of the ambulance canopy;
  • Replacing the roof on the specialty clinic building;
  • Replacing the vinyl canopy over the Andrews Institute Rehabilitation building;
  • Painting the exterior of the buildings;
  • Landscaping;
  • Renovating patient rooms.

Faulkner pointed out that reimbursements have not kept pace with cost increases, noting that last year alone more than $2 million of costs to serve patients at Jay Hospital were not reimbursed.

“Your support of county funding of this request will help us continue to live out our Mission of helping all people throughout life’s journey through Jay Hospital which we believe is so critical to a strong community,” Faulkner stated.

Calkins pointed out that since 2008 Baptist Health Care has made $4 million in improvements to the hospital property, which is leased from the county.

Calkins also recognized the efforts of Kyle Holley, the county’s liaison officer, who helped secure grant funding for broadband expansion, freeing up $1.5 million which the county had previously allocated toward that effort.

Subsequently, Calkins made a successful motion for the board to vote on Thursday’s consent agenda to utilize the previously designated funding for broadband for the aforementioned $500,000 in improvements at Jay Hospital. 

Additionally, Calkins motion also included a $600,000 allocation to construct a county-owned cellular tower to support communications at the Whiting
Aviation Park and to support 5G delivery to Whiting Field and the surrounding areas. “Emergency managers, NAS Whiting Field planners, Whiting Aviation Part tenants, and residents in the surrounding area are disproportionately limited in basic cell service and connectivity. All have reached out requesting the Local Technology Planning Team prioritize this need,” stated the Commissioner’s item supporting documentation.