Baptist Health Care’s $16M taxpayer bailout smacks of fiscal irresponsibility
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Baptist Health Care's strategic oversight (or strategic avoidance) has left us all holding the bag.

In the latest episode of corporate shortsightedness meets taxpayer exploitation, we find Baptist Health Care executing a masterclass in dodging fiscal responsibility for the mess it’s left behind in Pensacola. The regional health system moved its main hospital campus to greener (and wealthier) pastures, leaving taxpayers on the hook for an estimated $16.4 million tab to demolish its old E Street campus.

Baptist Health Care, once a cornerstone of care in Pensacola, decided to up the stakes and move to a more affluent part of town, leaving behind a 50-acre reminder of what they abandoned. This isn’t just about changing neighborhoods; it’s about moving away from a commitment to the community that supported them for so long. They tried, unsuccessfully, to dump this problem in the laps of private buyers, but they refused to take the bait.

Despite promising to be “intentional about the redevelopment” of the site, Baptist’s latest plan hinges on donating the abandoned property to the City of Pensacola — and expecting state and local governments (that means us, the taxpayers) to cover the demolition costs. How philanthropic of them!

Baptist repeatedly said they would continue providing some medical services at or near the old campus so neighboring residents wouldn’t lose critical access to care, even reaffirming that commitment as recently as May 2022. Today, they’ve completely abandoned that community, choosing to expand into more affluent areas, like the new Nine Mile ER they plan to open in northern Escambia County this month.

Planning and budgeting for the demolition should have been part of Baptist’s grand scheme for its new $650 million campus. Instead, it’s become a multimillion-dollar oversight they’re happy to pass onto taxpayers.

Now, let’s give credit where it’s due. Sen. Doug Broxson and Rep. Alex Andrade have stepped up in an attempt to clean up this mess from Tallahassee. Their willingness to help the City of Pensacola is commendable, but it should never have come to this. This abandoned complex, now a symbol of corporate neglect, is an albatross around the neck of Pensacola, threatening to drag an already impoverished area further into despair.

And here’s the kicker: Baptist has only been asked to contribute a paltry $3 million toward demolition costs — which they’re still “exploring” but haven’t even committed to yet. Meanwhile, the potential cost isn’t getting smaller — and should it exceed estimates, who will cover the difference? Construction of the new Baptist campus went $100 million over budget, so why should we believe any estimates now?

If costs do run over, it’s only right that Baptist steps up. They should agree to the $3 million ask without delay and commit to cover any overruns beyond the $16.4 million estimate. That seems not only fair, but also the least they can do. After all, this was their property, their responsibility, and their decision to leave an impoverished Pensacola neighborhood high and dry.

Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves and city leadership are doing their part, committing to taking on the property if they can raise enough for demolition. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking this is a done deal. The city is contemplating a multiyear funding strategy that could see this issue drag on, with state and local taxpayers paying a growing share of the bill.

The proposed funding breakdown — which mixes city, county, state and federal dollars with a sprinkle of Baptist’s trifling contribution — is a stark reminder that taxpayers will be stuck cleaning up another mess they didn’t create. Baptist Health Care’s strategic oversight (or strategic avoidance) has left us all holding the bag.

This cautionary tale isn’t just about demolishing old buildings. It’s about accountability, responsibility and community stewardship. Baptist Health Care has an opportunity to show they’re still committed to Pensacola, not just in words but in deeds and dollars. Let’s hope they take it.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Julia

    February 7, 2024 at 5:55 pm

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  • Dont Say FLA

    February 8, 2024 at 9:36 am

    Grifters claiming “Jesus?” Again? Say it ain’t so! Who’d of thunk it.

  • John

    February 8, 2024 at 11:12 am

    Baptist did not only abandon the community but they abandoned their employees as well. Baptist froze retirement matching and no raises in 7 years because they stated they couldn’t afford it. When Baptist announced the new hospital plans to the employees in 2019, We were told that the new hospital would not affect the old hospital, meaning they had the money to build the new and the money being made at the old would be same and it would not affect the budget and raises. It has been 7 years and no raises and retirement was frozen. We were lied to and the lies was intentionally. In 2021 Mark the CEO was making 1.26 million annually not including bonuses and if you look up 2022 he is now making 1.7 million not including bonuses. The hirer ups gave to themselves but not to the staff that stayed and kept the doors open. If Baptist didn’t have money to give to their employees or for the demo then how could they afford Mark a $600,000 raise. Baptist made all the promises to city leaders and just as soon as Baptist had the new landed anex, is when they decided to let the truth out and say we are not going to do anything we promised with the old hospital. It’s all smoke and mirrors, always has been since 2012 when Mark to over. Baptist is a community owned hospital lead by leaders of the community and this is how they think of our community and their employees. Baptist is become the Good Ole boys piggy bank with no real accountability. The Government should demand a full independent audit and investigation but that has yet to happen as well. I find odd that Mark bought a condo in 2022 that was once owned by the sacred heart foundation. Plus health insurance At Baptist has doubled for 2024. A team member and spouse used to cost $324 a month in 2023 and now for 2024 it will cost $626 a month. The same has happened for the family plan, it’s doubled. But this is how Mark and the leaders on the board think of the people that live in the community and work for the community owned hospital.

    • PeterH

      February 8, 2024 at 11:58 am

      Well said John!

  • Dot Dixon

    February 8, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Not to mention they have reduced their charity care by so much that even the HCA hospital provides more charity care than they do…and that says a lot!!

  • Close The Churches

    February 8, 2024 at 3:54 pm





  • Nurse Ratched

    February 8, 2024 at 4:29 pm

    It’s even worse when you realize tha the public sector issued bonds on behalf of Baptist Health Care through the Escambia County Health Facilities Authority:

    $542,660,000 Health Care Facilities Revenue Bonds (Baptist Health Care Corporation Obligated Group) Series 2020A

    Dated: 2-12-2020

    Final Maturity Date: 8-15-2050

    Primary Beneficiary: Baptist Health Care Corp. Obligated Group, Pensacola, FL campus, Gulf Breeze, FL campus and Jay Hospital, Jay FL

    Amount Outstanding on 9-30-21: $542,660,000

    $67,645,000 Helath Care Facilities Taxable Revenue Bonds (Baptist Health Care Corporation Obligated Group) Series 2020B

    Dated: 2-12-2020

    Maturity: 8-15-2040

    Primary Beneficiary: Baptist Health Care Corp Obligated Group, Pensacola FL campus, Gulf Breeze, FL campus and Jay Hospital, Jay FL

    Amount Outstanding on 9-30-2021: $67,645,000


  • Nope

    February 8, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    Glad this story is getting coverage. Baptist is NOT a community health organization. It is a paid grifter corporate welfare organization. It at least used to be decent higher quality health care. In my family’s and friends’ more recent (and bad) experience, this is no longer the case. Don’t hold your breath on an audit. They are treated with the white gloves of a corporation but with the added welfare and protections of a community asset. Neither is accurate. Sorry to hear that about the staff. A tired and familiar story.

Comments are closed.


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