Clinic closing only temporary for Florala area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The recently-opened Florala Clinic at Florala Memorial Hospital is closing – temporarily.

Gabriela Engels, who leased the hospital facility and surrounding buildings and had planned to open a drug and alcohol treatment center, Serendipity Healthy Living Community, there later this year, also opened the clinic in an effort to ensure that health care was available in Florala.

But Monday, she said issues arose with the lease over the weekend when the lessor notified her he would not make roof repairs to the hospital building.

Engels said in just the three weeks the clinic has been open, it already had 60 local patients.

“It is important that they have access to health care,” she said. “We plan to relocate, and reopen as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, patients may access their records by contacting Client Services at 954-961-8801.

Engels said she has not abandoned her plan to open Serendipity Healthy Living Facility, a drug and alcohol treatment center. in Florala. Plans for Serendipity include sober living facilities for both men and women. Engels purchased the Gitenstein estate, and has converted the home to provide a sober living facility for men who have detoxed and don’t need hospitalization but are not yet ready to live totally independently.

Engels said this facility will open in May. In June, she plans to open a coffee and donut shop in the downtown area, next to Cox Hardware.

Engels expressed her appreciation to Mayor Robert Williamson, members of the city council, and others who have worked with her to ensure that health care is available in Florala.

“We will reopen the clinic as soon as possible,” she said.

By Tuesday afternoon, she had reviewed several possible locations. The clinic’s employees are being retained, she said, until a new location can be secured and opened.