It’s been more than three months in the making, but Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. The HCA Healthcare affiliate in Panama City, Florida reopened at 100-percent last Monday after Hurricane Michael damaged the facility and left the community in ruins last October.

Devastation in Panama City after Hurricane Michael

“I didn’t anticipate it happening this quickly,” Gulf Coast Regional CEO Brad Griffin told the local NBC affiliate. “Seeing the building immediately after the storm I thought we were in for many months of reconstruction. We had a lot of damage to the building and to the parking lot, but we’ve been working very hard at it.”

Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center sustained significant damage in the wake of Hurricane Michael

HCA Healthcare and Gulf Coast Regional also have been working hard at putting people back to work. As a result of the Category 4 hurricane and the devastation it caused to the Florida Panhandle, thousands were unable to return to work or laid off, including more than 600 workers from a non-affiliated hospital in Panama City.

“We were not unaffected either,” Griffin told the reporter of Gulf Coast Regional’s staffing after Hurricane Michael. “We’ve had many of our staff leave the area for various reasons, so we’ve been hiring. We’ve had some good success in doing that.”

Realizing that HCA Healthcare’s scale would offer a breadth of opportunities, the company and its affiliate Gulf Coast Regional held two job fairs – one at the hospital and the other at a local convention center – before the holidays to assist job seekers, including HCA colleagues, displaced and affected by the storm.

In partnership with Gulf Coast Regional’s leadership team, HCA Human Resources Group recruiters from HCA’s North Florida Division attended the hospital job fair, where 106 candidates attended and 56 people, including registered nurses, respiratory therapists and operating room technicians, were offered opportunities to join Gulf Coast Regional and the HCA Healthcare family.

One week later, recruiters from more than 50 HCA Healthcare hospitals across the HCA North Florida, East Florida, West Florida, South Atlantic and as far as the Nashville-based TriStar Division, were represented at the event. Fifteen offers were made to those who were interested in joining an HCA facility outside of the area.

“We are proud to have been able to offer job opportunities and restore some needed hope in the Panama City community and beyond,” said HCA North Florida Division’s Director of Talent Acquisition Noe M. Arceo. “It was an honor to represent HCA Healthcare during this time.”

As for Gulf Coast Regional, CEO Griffin said: “We’ve got the building back into shape. Everybody’s just so ready to come back and be at 100-percent.”

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