WALTON COUNTY, Fla— Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson told county commissioners this week that Walton County Fire Rescue has added a seventh ambulance and that he is likely to add another after Healthmark Regional Medical Center notified the agency it is temporarily closing its emergency room.
“This is a very serious concern for us,” said Adkinson addressing the Board at its meeting Tuesday. “This will greatly affect transport times and the availability of ambulance services in the county.”
He said his agency was informed by Healthmark that its emergency room will be closed for an unknown length of time sometime in the near future.
A Healthmark representative told commissioners its ER is expected to be closed for up to a month due to construction.
Adkinson said he has reached out to area hospitals to make them aware and help them in the transition and prepare them for the increased volume that will be redirected from Healthmark.
“We want to ensure residents the excellent quality of care they receive through Walton County Fire Rescue emergency medical services will continue as we adjust to these changes,” said Adkinson.
“As we anticipate the increase in call volume and transport times, our staff is committed to doing everything in our power to make sure residents and visitors are informed of this change and those in our community receive the emergency care they need,” he said.
“We’re looking to get an eighth ambulance that will run as staffing allows,” added Adkinson.
Adkinson, county commissioners, and representatives from Healthmark reportedly plan to meet before the week’s end to discuss how to decrease the length of time ER services will be suspended.
Healthmark Regional Medical Center is at 4413 US 331 South in DeFuniak Springs.