Century’s Only Doctor Ordered To Cease And Desist; Pleads Case With Governor

February 29, 2016

Dr. Christian Bachman finds a lot of irony in the fact that his office building in Century was deemed unsafe, but it’s the very place many Century residents ran for shelter after last week’s devastating tornado.

Century’s only doctor has been embroiled in a fight with a state agency to continue his medical practice from the old Century Hospital building. In a letter dated August 26, 2015, Century Health Care Access (CHCA) and Dr. Bachman, president of CHCA and physician for Mayo Street Medical, were ordered to vacate the  facility by September 30, 2015, by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, current owners of 25,000 square foot building on Mayo Street.

The eviction date passed, with Bachman and his medical practice receiving much media attention that began with a NorthEscambia.com story. As a result, Bachman said, DEP shifted their position, which at first seemed like a positive breakthrough. But with time, he said he’s realized it appears the DEP has simply changed their strategy to making “impossible demands”.

Bachman said a subsequent letter from DEP gave his practice 60 days to fix a series of issues, some of which such as sprinkler and alarm panel inspections, were reasonable and are underway.

“Unfortunately the 60 day letter also includes a few issues which are almost impossible to surmount, including getting rid of the medical clinic sublease and also our research lab, both of which are the whole purpose of our mission in Century,” Bachman said. “This makes the entire letter a hollow gesture.”

The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office also demanded changes that the doctor said were impracticable to impossible. Demands included repairs to large areas of ceilings that were patched by DEP or their contractors in the 1990’s to install a new fire sprinkler system. He said it was not possible to obtain the permits for the work in a short time period, much less make the costly repairs.

Bachman has refused to budge, continuing to operate his medical practice, seeing patients regardless of their ability to pay and even making house calls.

On Friday afternoon, February 12, 2016, law enforcement officers served Bachman a cease and desist order that demanded that no member of the public be allowed inside the building due to fire code violations.

“The facility has been closed to the public by order of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Under the Fire Marshal’s cease and desist order, no public access to the building shall occur until such time as the repairs to the critical life safety systems have been addressed to the satisfaction of the State Fire Marshal’s Office,” Lori Elliott, press secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said in an email to NorthEscambia.com..

“The terms of Dr. Bachman’s lease require him to adhere to the standards of the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the National Fire Protection Association Standards, as determined and enforced by the State Fire Marshal. Any requirements or actions by the Fire Marshal Office are separate and outside the scope of DEP’s authority, however, DEP’s responsibility and authority is to ensure compliance with applicable laws and codes and to uphold the terms of the lease,” Elliot continued.

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Two days after a powerful EF-3 tornado leveled much of the Century area around the old hospital, Bachman stood outside the building, pointing out the damage. He said the building suffered roof damage and several windows were blown out, including those on his research laboratory.

“It’s pretty much all gone, including my mass spectrometer,” he said. “I don’t know what I can do; I’ve lost all of my research equipment.”

At that point, he said he was not sure what the next step in his fight to stay open would be. In fact, he began to question the battle.

“This thing (lease dispute) may have resolved itself because of this tornado,” he said. “I have an odd sense of relief over what may have been a petty little fight. There’s no way I can fix this building now. I don’t know if the whole fight now seems stupid.”

Bachman said the cease and desist order from the State Fire Marshal’s Office was served on him about 3:45 to 4:00 on that Friday afternoon, with a 72-hour provision to comply. Almost exactly to the minute 72 hours later, the most powerful tornado to hit Escambia County in 45 years roared through Century with winds over 150 mph, and wiped out numerous homes in Century around Bachman’s office.

He said he ran out and immediately began looking to help anyone that was injured.

“Then a little while later after the tornado, it started to get real dark again. We all feared there might be more to come. Everybody ran here (to the old hospital) for safety,” he said. “That’s the supreme irony in all this. All those people ran to a building for safety, a building that’s been deemed to be so unsafe.”

“If this is the end of this building,” he said a couple of days after the tornado, “there’s something to say about it going out helping so many people.”

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When Gov. Rick Scott toured the tornado damage in Century last week, it presented Bachman with a sudden and unexpected opportunity to discuss his battles with state government face to face with the state’s top elected official.

As Scott walked along Mayo and Church streets, toward the old Century Hospital, he had been briefed on the facility and Bachman’s plight. As Scott and his entourage continued to walk down Church Street, just outside the boarded-up windows of Bachman’s research lab, Bachman grabbed the chance to plead his case.

“We had no idea Gov. Scott was coming, but it seemed like a golden opportunity. We presented the petition to bring attention to the issues at the old Century Hospital. This petition has been circulated over the last several months in support of keeping the old Century Hospital building open to deliver medical care. Several hundred folks were kind enough to sign this and it was our unexpected pleasure to hand this personally to the governor,” Bachman wrote in an email. “In the few moments the governor and I spoke he was quite polite and understanding.”

Scott listened to Bachman, assuring him that he would review the situation, as he thumbed through the petition.

As far Bachman’s next move…it remains a wait and see game.

Pictured top: Dr. Christian Bachman shakes hands with Gov. Rick Scott just outside the old Century Hospital. Pictured top inset: Damage to the old Century Hospital following a tornado. Pictured  middle insets: Backman points out tornado damage which left his research laboratory without windows. Pictured bottom inset: Bachman presented a petition to Scott. Pictured bottom: Bachman’s petition in the hands of the governor. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


18 Responses to “Century’s Only Doctor Ordered To Cease And Desist; Pleads Case With Governor”

  1. Tina on March 1st, 2016 10:44 pm

    Hopefully Dr. Bachman can purchase a large home and remodel it to a physician’s office. I would hate to see him leave the area. He is a caring person and it says a lot for someone to give FREE medical care. He is for the people and not about becoming rich ! Praying for you Dr. Bachman.

  2. Gman on March 1st, 2016 10:11 am

    Wish a tornado would blow all the trash out of local and state politics. Doc this could be a blessing in disguise, take your skills where they will be appreciated, the state has done you wrong and we all can see that.

  3. Bob C. on February 29th, 2016 10:12 pm

    William, please continue to follow this story as it develops.
    Especially, it will be interesting to find what plans “Someone” has for this property.

    Escambia County has a lot of abandoned property and seized property some that has usable buildings, would one of these be near enough to Century to be made available by the BOCC?

    gov. scott has shown his true colors in this entire event for Century…disgusted by his behavior and attitude.

  4. Retired on February 29th, 2016 9:41 pm

    Small Business Loans are available. Personally the old hospital looks run down. A new location in a big refurbished home may atractt a partner and patients with insurance. The FEMA declaration may open up a whole new world of possibilities.

  5. Sage 2 on February 29th, 2016 5:31 pm

    There is an old saying…No good deed goes unpunished. This is the case with this fine physician trying to help those in need as per his Hippocratic Oath.

    Shame on the bureaucratic structure.

    It would seem those individual would at least offer assistance to those in need of this man’s services by providing some form of facility for him to help the people of Century and he’s not a politician either…how about that?

  6. Earl on February 29th, 2016 4:15 pm

    It’s nice that the doctor did free work and cared about people, but he wants to get everything without paying for it. If he wants government handouts, then he needs to work for the government. He is suffering the consequences of bad choices. He chose to never improve his building all these years. He chose not to save any money for repairs and replacement. Maybe there are government grants he could apply for. Maybe he could make a nice office out of an old house around here, bring in more customers and make some money by earning it, not begging for it.

  7. CenturyLovesCompany on February 29th, 2016 4:10 pm

    Give this man the key to the city and free rent for the rest of his career at a suitable location. From everythingl I’ve heard about this guy, he is a hero.

  8. citizen on February 29th, 2016 1:27 pm

    Dr Bachman I believe in you and I think of you as a healer for this town. I pray better things will happen for you yet here in Century. We look to you as a leader in how to begin to recover as a whole. Can you bring in other doctors and agencies to help yourself and the community. Even mental heath counsellors and health care? How do we apply for the funds for housing? What about the homeless situation unfolding?

  9. Kane on February 29th, 2016 12:44 pm


    I guess you missed the part were it said he treats people regardless of “ABILITY TO PAY”. Doesn’t seem like he was in it just for the money.

  10. Thoughts on February 29th, 2016 12:23 pm

    Looking at a bigger picture…I hope Dr decides to stay in Century, perhaps this is chance to get funds to renovated one of the historic homes, live there and run a practice. OK now…as far as the Hospital. It belongs to the DEP and they have no current lease. As the DEP is the owner, I expect them to come in and use whatever funds They have to clean up and repair THEIR building in MY town.

  11. Terri Sanders on February 29th, 2016 11:24 am

    Of course big brother’s intention is to watch over us…take care of us….and in the end control us….I am truly sorry Dr. Bachman lost his lab and a place to practice. There is a better plan ahead for him….

  12. mq on February 29th, 2016 10:19 am

    Such a sad story. If they don’t realize it now, they will if he leaves – he is a good man, a good doctor, and a man who cares and loves Century.
    Too bad some agency, person, or group couldn’t come to his aid and see him through these troubled times.

  13. bewildered on February 29th, 2016 9:21 am

    Overall our health care system is in a sad state. Quote from a local attorney in a TV commercial sums it up: “Our health care system is no longer what it used to be. Doctors no longer care about the welfare of patients – they practice medicine strictly to make as much money as possible for big corporations.” . Dr. Bachman is an exception – truly tragic that he does not receive the necessary support from the State.

  14. Suzanne on February 29th, 2016 9:14 am

    I have known Dr Bachman for at least 18 years. We even have been to him as a dr in times past, but due to circumstances beyond our control we had to relocate a few years back. He is a rare breed in this country in that he treats patients in need~he sees those who may not even be able to pay him. And for many years, he has gone to the homes of those who were not able to make it to his office. Unlike those who may have become a dr because the money was good, he had a calling to help the needy people of this area…a Godsend for sure. He reminds me of the old doctor on tv years ago that had a private practice in his own home, but who also went to where the people were. The patients were like an extended family for him…I pray that God will turn things around for him…that He will make a way where there seems to be no way…where the odds seem 1,000 to one against him…that’s where God works best…in impossible situations…impossible to man…but nothing is impossible with God. God bless you Dr Bachman and all that you do for this area…

  15. Shaun on February 29th, 2016 9:12 am

    This man has been nothing but good to this community and bigger people just wants to bring him down. I got nothing but great respect for Dr . Bachmann all these people get the help they need health wise including myself alot of times I myself don’t have the ability to pay but still sees me in fact he was the only Doctor to get me the help I needed with my epilepsy.What I don’t get is Century is trying to get new businesses in grant them with what I think was $25,000 but not try to help with our people that been in the community helping others. Let’s start a gofund me account to help him get his practice back up and running but then they will find other bogus reason to shut it down so they won’t have to pay for it.Praying for you Dr.Bachmann

  16. Earl on February 29th, 2016 8:16 am

    The doctor was paying very low rent, and over all the years never ever made any improvements to his building. I guess he never insured his equipment either? When you are in business, you set aside money for repair and replacement costs. And you insure your expensive items. A doctor is in business, and Century’s doctor didn’t handle his business. He took care of his patients and did his research, while all off his profits went in his pocket, and now he’s begging for a handout.

  17. everlasting on February 29th, 2016 7:06 am

    As big as this old Hospital is and the sincerity that Dr. Bachman says he has for serving the Century areas poor. He should be allowed to board off enough space for his practice and let the rest fall apart along with the what Century (the forgotten people) has been left with. Let the Doctor continue to help the people and the County and state give him what he needs to operate (never gonna happen) and lets get on with life. Sick and tired of this junk—-just saying.

  18. Mike on February 29th, 2016 3:10 am

    A doctor can go to work ANYWHERE in the country. This good man is fighting to stay in Century & treat it’s people though. The rich people of NWF have decided to turn their backs on him for some reason. If I were a rich man I’d help him. It is a shame the good doctor has to put up with such misanthropy. :(