GRACEVILLE - With the legislation approved to allow the hospital district to sell its property, Campbellton-Graceville Hospital property is soon to become part of Northwest Florida Community Hospital.

The bankruptcy court recently approved the motion to allow the Campbellton-Graceville Hospital district to sell the property to NFCH. A public hearing for the consideration of the sale of the hospital facilities will be held July 30 at the Graceville hospital, 5429 College Drive, in the boardroom.

"Now what we're working on is the normal processes of closing on property - appraisals, surveys, working with the bank on financing," said NFCH CEO Michael Kozar. "So, we anticipate sometime in July actually closing on the property and the property becoming part of Northwest Florida Community Hospital."

CGH is still in the process of fighting about $120 million in bankruptcy case. Most of the claims are in relation to insurance companies that have asserted claims for alleged over-billing related to a lab processing scheme, according to the hospital’s bankruptcy lawyer Brian Rich of Berger Singerman, a business law firm out of Tallahassee.

The latest approval liquidated part of CGH bankruptcy assets so that the NFCH could acquire it and move forward with the actual purchase and repurposing of the hospital.

"There's a lot of work that has to be done between now and Aug. 6 to be able to file the certificate of need," Kozar said. "That has sped up our process considerably."

NFCH will have to outline the need for the services it plans to provide and put together a business plan. If the certificate is filed by the deadline, the determination will come around the end of the year - putting the hospital right on schedule for opening the repurposed facilities.

The three options to repurpose the facility include impatient geriatric psych program, medical detoxification program and treatment of opioid, drug and alcohol addiction, and a crisis stabilization unit for Baker Act patients.

"We still remain excited, we still think that this is an opportunity for us to be able to design a program and services in the behavioral health arena that a lot of small rural communities have not done," Kozar said. "If we're successful in the vision that we have for that facility, that it can be duplicated across Florida and across the country because there's a number of communities that are closing their hospitals or have been closed."

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to design a program for the Panhandle as something that can be modeled throughout the state," he added.