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About us

Gulf Coast Hospital, located in Panama City, Florida, is a 282-bed acute care hospital. Learn more about our hospital and services.

Message from the CEO

HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital continues to grow as our community grows.

Over the past two years, we've seen many new changes to our facility. In 2019, we completed renovations of our postpartum unit and emergency room. By the end of 2019, we finished our $2.5 million expansion of the emergency room's ambulance canopy and added an additional operating room.

In July 2020, we opened our new $11.5 million freestanding emergency room (ER). Panama City Emergency is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is located on Highway 231, just north of Transmitter Road. As a fully functional emergency department, the ER includes 11 private patient care rooms, a dedicated cardiac/respiratory resuscitation room, a full hospital lab and diagnostic imaging services, including X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan and ultrasound.

At the end of 2020, our hospital expanded and renovated our main campus. The $62 million construction project added nearly 67,000 square feet and 60 new beds, including the addition of a fourth and fifth floor to the north tower. A connector from the third floor of the north tower to the main facility was also constructed. The fourth floor houses a new medical/surgical floor featuring 24 private patient rooms. The fifth floor houses a state-of-the-art, 20-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation facility. In addition, we will add a third floor to the south tower, housing a new 16-bed surgical intensive care unit.

HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital is certified in Advanced Primary Stroke Care, accredited as a Comprehensive Breast Care Center and is the area's only Accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation. The hospital offers other quality services to include orthopedic care and joint replacement, robotic surgery, cardiac, vascular and interventional services. We have the only Pediatric ER in the community and the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the region. These designations enhance the hospital's quality of care and demonstrate its commitment to higher, measurable standards of care.

Our mission at HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital is: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. In recognition of this commitment, we strive to deliver high-quality, cost-effective healthcare in the communities we serve.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and welcome to our hospital.

Chase Christianson
HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital

HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital statistics

  • 127,158

    Patients treated in 2020

  • 1,378


  • 313


  • 430

    Licensed beds


We are supported by a leadership team that is committed to bettering the lives of patients within the communities we serve. Our hospital leaders are experienced in many areas of healthcare and use their knowledge to improve the quality of care we provide.

Awards and recognitions

We strive to exceed our patients' needs. Our dedication to excellence in healthcare has led to us receiving awards and recognition from organizations such as the American College of Radiology and the Commission on Cancer.

In the community

To improve the health of the diverse communities we serve — and as part of HCA Healthcare, Florida's largest healthcare provider — we continue to take a leading role in fundamentally transforming how healthcare is provided. We also work in partnership with other organizations to provide a wide range of community benefit programs and services.

Business health services

To promote good health in the work place, we offer a program called Commit to Fit. This program provides businesses with educational seminars, biometric screenings, disease prevention and management to help keep employees healthy.

Community needs assessment

We are committed to serving the needs of Bay County. Learn more about the health challenges and opportunities in our community.

Learn more about our business health program 

Hospital history

The idea for HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital was conceived out of a simple desire — to improve healthcare quality for the families in and surrounding Bay County, Florida. The idea began more than 40 years ago with two young Panama City physicians who had a dream.

In the early 1970s, there were three hospitals in Panama City: 100-bed Bay Memorial Hospital, 40-bed Lisenby Hospital and 30-bed Adams Hospital. All three facilities were aging; there was a lack of specialized care, and no hospitals had emergency departments. Concerned about the quality of care their patients were receiving, the two young physicians took a bold risk. They decided to buy Lisenby Hospital and turn it into a high-quality medical center.

“Our true motivation was to improve medical care in Bay County,” said Dr. Tim Smith. “The facilities then were terrible. There were a limited number of specialists, minimal intensive care services and surgeries that weren’t available. All three hospitals were archaic. I remember Dr. James Poyner and I were in his office one day, upset over some problem at Lisenby. That’s when he suggested we buy the hospital and run it like we thought it should be run.”

Smith and Poyner approached the hospital’s owner with their idea.

“We asked Dr. Lisenby what he would take for his hospital,” said Dr. Poyner. “And, he named a price that was out of our range. It was too much for two young doctors to handle.”

Undeterred, Smith and Poyner convinced 19 other area physicians and local attorney Rowlett Bryant to join them in their venture. The group bought Lisenby Hospital in 1969 and immediately began making improvements, expanding the hospital to 50 rooms. It soon became apparent that more extensive expansion was necessary to accommodate the rapidly growing community. The group applied for a certificate of need for 100 beds. Rowlett Bryant assisted in the legal aspects of this endeavor.

“The Certificate of Need law had just been passed, and there were no forms for that process. We had to create our own forms,” said Bryant. “The state granted us a certificate of need for a 150-bed hospital, under the condition that we close Lisenby because it was outdated.”

The closing of Lisenby Hospital not only marked the end of an era, it also marked the dawn of a new era in healthcare in Bay County. HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital was born.

After much deliberation on whether to rebuild the present site or build a new location, the group decided there was a bigger need for a hospital on the north side of town. They purchased 150 acres on 23rd Street near Jenks Avenue. Architectural plans were drawn up, with each physician specialist having a say in the design of his department, and the group began looking for financing to build the new facility. There, a new problem arose.

“By then, it was the 70s, and all of a sudden, the economy went south,” said Dr. Smith. “Interest rates hit 20 percent, and when you figure that on $9 million, which is what the hospital would cost. Some of the doctors decided it was just too big a nut to crack, and we went looking for other options.”

The best option, they decided, was to have a hospital management company purchase the project. Bryant contacted HCA Healthcare president Dr. Tommy Frist, Jr. and invited him to Panama City. Dr. Frist said he was impressed by the group’s determination to continue their plan despite the obstacles they faced.

“I was very impressed with the quality of doctors in the area. They were interested in getting a quality medical center,” explained Frist.

A deal was negotiated, and construction began in 1976. Gulf Coast Community Hospital, now HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital, opened its doors on January 3, 1977, as a state-of-the-art facility offering the most modern services and technology available. After nine long years of work and care, Smith, Poyner and the founding members saw their dream become a reality.

“There are two things I’ve done in my life that I am most proud of,” stated Poyner. “One is the instrumental role I played in immunizing Bay County against polio. The other is my influence in getting this hospital started.”