PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Recovery efforts are underway at the 120-bed Clifford C. Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Panama City. Residents, staff and families sheltered in place during Hurricane Michael, and were safe throughout the storm. The skilled nursing facility, opened in Bay County in 2003, was designed to withstand hurricane force winds.
Services to residents at the home continues. A team of health care professionals from the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs arrived soon after the storm to augment the veterans’ home staff. Rotations of health care providers from FDVA continues. Sims’ staff reports its residents are in good health and spirit.
The storm toppled trees on the property and removed most of the brick home’s shingles from the roof, but generator power kept the home functioning during the critical hours. Tarps have been placed on the roof and three generators are currently providing full power to the facility. Gulf Power is working to restore main utility power to the home, as the local substation in the area was destroyed. The utility company anticipates restoration of utilities for Oct. 22-24. Phone service to the area is also very limited.
Families of residents wanting to visit the veterans’ home are asked to delay their arrival in the impacted zone until Friday, Oct. 19.
The veterans’ home is not accepting new admissions at this time. For more information, call (850) 414-2717.
VA Outpatient Clinics in Panama City Beach and Marianna, which had been closed due to the hurricane, are open with limited but expanding service to area veterans. County veteran service offices in many of the impacted counties remain closed. Contact information for each county office can be found online at https://floridavets.org/locations/
A toll-free number, 1-800-507-4571, has been established for Florida veterans to get updated information on where to go for care, how to receive prescription drugs, or any other concerns they may have about their care. The phone line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Veterans in need of Pharmacy Customer Care may call 1-855-574-7288; the toll-free number is operational 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (EST) to assist veterans with medication.
Please contact the VA Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about your GI Bill benefits in the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The State Assistance Information Line contact number is 1-800-342-3557.
Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.