Mercy Iowa City to open new rehab hospital

CORALVILLE – Pandemic or not, residents of eastern Iowa will always need rehabilitative care, Mercy Iowa City officials said as they prepare to open a new hospital this week.

Mercy Iowa City will open its doors Thursday to the first patients of the $ 23 million, 40-bed rehab hospital.

“We’re very much in the process of providing care while living in this new reality of COVID-19, but it’s something we’ve been doing for years,” said Sean Williams, general manager of Mercy Iowa City. “Treating people with infectious diseases safely, from an emergency point of view, from a rehabilitation point of view, from a surgical point of view, has been done for more than a century. “

The stand-alone facility, located at 2801 Heartland Drive in Coralville, offers inpatient rehabilitation services, including occupational therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

The hospital is expected to treat around 1,000 patients per year who have suffered strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions requiring rehabilitation after a hospital stay.

The majority of patients at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital will be stroke patients, said Laura Phipps, its new CEO.

Phipps said the Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital will have the capacity to care for COVID-19 positive patients or those recovering from the novel coronavirus, and may even have the capacity to convert an entire unit for those patients in the event of need.

Across the country, hospitals have reported a drop in emergency room visits and other appointments, leading doctors to fear that patients are avoiding hospitals even for needed services for fear of COVID-19.

“The need for care doesn’t go away,” Williams said. “In fact, some of the cases that were initially delayed and considered elective quickly became non-elective over time. … If you have had a stroke, stroke or heart attack or spinal cord injury, you need treatment.

After operating under an incident command system for nearly three months now, Williams said providers in Mercy Iowa City and other hospital officials feel “very comfortable” treating patients. with coronavirus and keep other patients and staff healthy. He stressed that if a patient is in Mercy Rehab Hospital, or their main hospital and clinics, “these are the safest places you can be.”

“What we have learned is that we absolutely can provide care in this environment at all levels, including people with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and do so safely,” said he declared.

The $ 23 million project, which included the $ 7.5 million construction of the hospital itself, is co-owned with Louisville, Ky.-Based Kindred, a specialist post-acute care provider in these partnerships.

It is the second rehabilitation hospital built in Iowa through a partnership between Kindred and MercyOne, the health system network that includes Mercy Iowa City. The first hospital, a $ 21 million, 50-bed facility in Clive, opened last June.

The Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital is a two-story facility that houses four units, 22 beds on the first floor and 18 beds on the second floor.

The facility also includes an indoor gym with equipment to help patients learn to walk and perform tasks such as getting in and out of a car. Outside is another therapy area with a pickleball court, raised garden beds and a putting field.

The second floor houses a separate 12-bed traumatic brain injury unit, including its own interdisciplinary gym, designed to reduce the level of noise and other excessive stimulation for these patients.

Patients and their families will also have access to a transitional living space, a one-bedroom apartment within the facility with its own kitchen and laundry room. Phipps said the suite will help patients relearn daily tasks, such as washing dishes, and is intended to help patients and their loved ones get home before discharge.

The Mercy and Kindred project was approved by the State Board of Health Facilities in the fall of 2018, but it was not the only proposal for a Coralville-based rehabilitation hospital approved by the State Board. .

A $ 27 million, 40-bed rehabilitation hospital offered by Encompass Health, a post-acute care provider based in Birmingham, Alabama, in partnership with the University of Iowa Health Care, is expected to be built at the southwest corner of Oakdale Boulevard and Coral Court in Coralville.

The facility is also designed to accommodate patients recovering from post-acute medical care, including stroke, spinal cord injuries, complex orthopedic disorders and other neurological disorders.

“It was identified during the decision to come to this area that there were 74 rehabilitation beds needed daily in this area. So even if Encompass opens around the same time, it won’t be a problem to keep both installations full, ”said Phipps. “By providing the services to the community, we are jointly able to support all the services that patients need. “

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Mercy Iowa City Rehabilitation Hospital, Executive Director Laura Phipps, visited the therapy room at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville last Wednesday. The new $ 23 million rehab hospital will provide 40 patient beds. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The new Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville is expected to treat approximately 1,000 patients per year who have suffered strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions requiring rehabilitation after a hospital stay . This is what a typical patient room looks like. The bariatric bedroom will have a queen-size bed and also has an elevator. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Patients will be encouraged to eat their meals in the dining room, pictured last Wednesday, at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

A vehicle in the therapy gym at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital will allow patients to practice getting in and out of a car. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The therapy room at Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville has equipment to help patients learn to walk. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville will open later this week. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

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