Signature HealthCARE to partner with NFCH

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 07:32 AM.

CHIPLEY — After nearly a decade of historic growth and improvements for Northwest Florida Community Hospital, an era is coming to a close.

On Dec. 15, NFCH CEO/President Pat Schlenker will sell his majority stock holdings in Northwest Florida Healthcare Inc. to Signature HealthCARE Systems.

Signature owns Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Chipley.

“This is not an asset sell, NFHI will remain its own corporation,” Schlenker said on Friday. “We will remain two separate organizations.”

“This is really an exciting time for us,” said Bret Brown, administrator of WRNC. “This will allow us to work together and combine to be a model for rural health care.”

To continue to grow, NFCH needs to formally partner with a larger healthcare system.

Schlenker said the necessity for NFCH to align itself with a bigger organization became evident more than a year ago, when The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, still loomed on the horizon. “Now that it is unlikely Obamacare will be overturned, it is even more of a necessity,” he said.

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