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Health care provider says Unity region needs the 40-bed rehabilitation hospital

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Harrisburg area health care provider on Tuesday told Unity officials that the region needs the 40-bed, $20 million rehabilitation hospital it is planning for a 6.9-acre site off the eastbound lanes of Route 30, near the Grayhawk Court condominiums.

Post Acute Medical LLC of Camp Hill's independent market study shows that the region could support at least a 60- to 80-bed rehabilitation hospital, along with Excela Health's 16-bed rehabilitation facility at Excela Latrobe Hospital, Karick Stober, chief financial officer of Post Acute, told township supervisors during a hearing on the use of the property.

“There is a pretty extensive need in this area for this (facility). It is a step-down unit for surgery patients, for stroke patients and those suffering from traumatic head injury,” as well as spinal cord injuries and geriatric patients who have broken bones from falls, Stober said.

The rehabilitation center is designed for patients to remain in treatment for 10 to 14 days, depending on their diagnosis, Stober said.

“We get them better and get them home,” Stober said.

Post Acute plans to begin construction of the two-story 54,400-square-foot facility in early summer, with completion in about 12 months, said Michael Graham, a principal and co-founder of Avail Healthcare Ventures LLC of Dallas, the developer of the rehab hospital.

In addition to providing inpatient therapy, the facility will house a 6,600-square-foot outpatient center and will offer patients aquatic therapy, Stober said.

The rehab hospital will be a boost to the local job market. Stober said there will be about 125 professional employees who would be considered “full-time equivalents” — registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists — plus clerical, janitorial and dietary employees that could increase the employee count to 200.

The township supervisors conducted a public hearing on the proposed project because a hospital is considered a conditional use in the area zoned B-3 for commercial development. The supervisors could consider approving the conditional use of the property during a meeting on April 11, said Gary Falatovich, Unity solicitor.

Donald A. Paulone, president of Grayhawk LLC, a Hempfield-based development firm that owns the proposed hospital site, said he has an agreement to sell the property to Post Acute Medical. Paulone's firm built the Villas at Grayhawk condominium community adjacent to the proposed hospital site.

Of the $20 million projected cost for the facility, Stober estimated that $1.5 million would be earmarked for equipment and $1.5 million for start-up costs.

Stober said Post Acute Medical wants to work with Excela Health.

No representative from Excela Health opposed Post Acute's plans for a medical rehabilitation facility, as had happened at the March 5 meeting. At that time, Ron Ott said that Excela Health already provides in-patient rehabilitation services at Excela Latrobe Hospital and that Post Acute representatives had not met with Excela executives.

Anthony F. Misitano, president and chief executive officer of Post Acute Medical, said after the hearing that his meeting on Tuesday with Excela Health CEO Robert Rogalski was “very cordial” and was “a great first meeting.”

“They're (Excela) very committed to their rehab product,” Misitano said.

The developers are expected to return to Unity's planning commission to seek a recommendation for approval of its plans on April 2.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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