Peoples Health Services is interested in offering hospice services in Holmes County.

The regional agency currently provides services throughout the Panhandle, including in Walton County.

The Holmes County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a letter of support for the potential expansion after Matt Norton, one of the owners for Peoples Health, gave a presentation during a March 19 BOCC meeting. 

“The state of Florida is unique in that it only allows a certain number of hospice agencies in a certain district,” Norton said. “The state of Florida assessed the need for another hospice agency to open up in district 2A. They’re opening it up for one more agency to come into this area and we strongly believe in locally-owned and operated health care agencies.” 

Peoples Health is looking for support from local leaders who “believe in our message and what we stand for as a locally-owned hospice agency,” Norton said. 

“We will open up three locations in district 2A, which will blanket the entire area,” Norton said. “We will have good support and positions for Holmes County residents.”

Commissioner Brandon Newsom asked if there are any plans to move a facility to Holmes County.

“Ninety-five percent of (hospice) is done in the home,” Norton said. “What we do is we like to hire nurses in the neighborhood. We build our census around where we can staff places. We will hire nurses from Holmes County. We will eventually have an office somewhere on the northern end.” 

Peoples Health is working to get nurses in DeFuniak Springs, for instance, licensed so they can serve patients in Holmes County. 

Commissioner Clint Erickson asked about the projected time to get nurses licenses in Holmes County. It will probably be the end of next year before Peoples Health is able to take patients due to having to go through regulatory processes, Norton said.

“I’m an optimistic guy. We went through this with district one and nothing was early when it came to licensing and stuff like that,” Norton said. “I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm with things.”

Jennifer Brooks, a Peoples Health liaison who lives in Westville, facilitated setting up the presentation. 

In other news from the BOCC meeting:

-A traffic sign will be put in front of the Westville Head Start site recognizing it as an official school zone.

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