Florala hospital closed Friday

Published 12:50 am Saturday, December 28, 2013


Florala Memorial Hospital closed Friday.

Employees said they were told at about 2 p.m. that the hospital was closing immediately, and administrators instructed them to have patients transferred by 5 p.m. Friday night.

Friday night, handwritten notes on the front and emergency room doors of the hospital stated simply, “Closed. Call 911.”

Hospital Holdings, Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., acquired the hospital in October of 2010, according to Star-News archives.

At the time, Dr. Robert Devrnja, Hospital Holdings president, told the newspaper that his company had staffed the hospital’s emergency room since 2006. When financial issues forced United Florala Inc., to sell, he said he jumped at the opportunity to purchase the hospital.

Devrnja said in 2010 that the average patient census was three, and that the hospital needed to average 13 patients per day for finanically sound operations.

The 28-bed hospital opened in 1964, built by Seymour Gitenstein and members of the community. Gitenstein paid particular attention to aesthetic details of the building, which is known for its stained glass windows.

Patient rooms still bore the names of Florala area residents who contributed to the hospital’s construction.


This marked the second rural hospital to close in the area in less than a year. Earlier this year, Elba General Hospital closed.

Health Care Authority of Elba officials gave the community about a week’s notice that the hospital would close. Officials cited a lack of surgical facilities as the reason patients sought health care elsewhere.