FWB Medical Center Celebrates 45 Years

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) officially opened its doors to receive patients on July 22, 1974, as a 237-bed hospital providing emergency services, labor and delivery, behavioral health and general medical/surgical care. FWBMC stood alone in its current location as a healthcare beacon providing much-needed advanced medical services.


Over the last 45 years, FWBMC has seen a great deal of change, not only in its physical structure, but also in the quality of care provided to the community and the accomplishments achieved. With each passing decade, FWBMC continues to grow and achieve monumental milestones:


In the early 1990s, HCA Healthcare purchased the hospital and its official name became Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Rehabilitation Services opened on the fourth floor, helping stroke and joint replacement patients return to daily living activities.


In the early 2000s, the first open heart surgery was performed at FWBMC. Today, FWBMC remains the only hospital in the tri-county area qualified to perform open heart surgery.


In the mid-2000s, FWBMC opened the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the tri-county area. The NICU provides care for premature and critically ill babies without having to leave the area.


In the early 2010s, FWBMC started down the path of becoming a tertiary medical center for the region, where people from all around the southeast would come for the quality care and specialized services being added.


In the mid-to-late 2010s FWBMC was well on its way to becoming the highest level, comprehensive healthcare facility in the tri-county area. Among recent honors, FWBMC was rated “A” for patient safety (2014-2018) and named one of the Top 100 General Hospitals in the nation (2016).


In 2018, the main ER was expanded to 40 exam rooms. A rooftop helipad and new 64-slice CT were added, too.


Today, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a tertiary center seeing patients all across the southeast, as well as in the local community. “We recognize this as an anniversary but also as a celebration and testimony to the many contributions made by our physicians, staff, volunteers and community and look forward to continuing to provide the most advanced, up-to-date quality health care,” said FWBMC’s Mitch Mongell.


“We embody our mission each and every day—above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.”

– Denise Kendust


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