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Company changes plans, wants to build skilled nursing facility in Unity

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By Richard Gazarik
Friday, April 25, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

A day after abandoning plans to build a rehabilitation hospital in Unity, a Cumberland County health care company decided to build a skilled nursing facility in the township, according to the firm's CEO.

Anthony Misitano of Post Acute Medical LLC said its board of directors voted on Wednesday to construct a 60-bed skilled nursing facility, called a “sniff.” He said plans will take a year to complete.

The decision occurred one day after Misitano announced the company was abandoning plans for the hospital after failed attempts to form a partnership with Excela. “We have not given up on the site and probably won't build a hospital but a ‘super sniff,' ” he said. “We have a plan, but we will have to have our developer go back to the township. We like the demographics of the area.”

Unity Supervisor Mike O'Barto said Post Acute likely will have to resubmit building plans and get approval for the new project, which will be built along Route 30 at Grayhawk Drive.

“I'm actually ecstatic,” O'Barto said. “It will help our tax base.”

The 60-bed rehabilitation hospital would have specialized in caring for patients dealing with the effects of strokes and traumatic brain injuries. Skilled nursing patients receive care for Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Parkinson's, respiratory ailments or post-surgical needs.

Misitano said the company will develop relationships with area physicians to attract patients. The opening of a skilled nursing facility in Unity will not lead to competition for Excela Health, because the system doesn't offer such care, said Jennifer Miele, vice president of marketing and communications.

Excela officials were concerned when Post Acute last year announced plans to open a rehab hospital that would compete with a rehabilitation program at Excela Health Latrobe Hospital. Excela is expanding its rehab unit there and renaming it EPIC Rehab, short for Excela Patient Improvement Care.

Post Acute will be in competition for patients with other skilled nursing centers in central Westmoreland County.

“That will rock their world,” Miele said. “It doesn't affect us. It's a tough game.”

Post Acute Medical provides inpatient and outpatient treatment, wound care, brain injuries, long-term acute care as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy at hospitals it operates in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Wisconsin. The Unity site would be its first Pennsylvania venture.

Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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