HMA looks to add rehab beds at hospitals

Physicians Regional Healthcare System hopes to add more beds to both its Pine Ridge and Collier Boulevard hospitals to serve patients needing rehabilitation services.

The hospital system owned by the Naples-based Health Management Associates has submitted notices to state regulators that it wants to add medical rehabilitation beds, 30 at each campus, through a competitive certificate-of-need application.

Similar efforts are under way in five other Florida counties where HMA owns hospitals. They are in Polk, Highlands, Brevard, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties.

Previous attempts to receive approval from the state Agency for Healthcare Administration to add these beds in some of the counties were not successful, said Alan Levine, president of HMA’s Florida Group.

“It’s tough to get medical rehab beds approved,” he said.

The state rules don’t distinguish between medical rehabilitation beds at nursing homes and how hospitals want them for higher acuity patients, and that is a stumbling block, Levine said.

“The type of rehabilitation we do is very narrow, but it can fly in the face of other rehabilitation projects,” he said.

A separate project that is still in the development stages is adding more regular hospital beds at the Pine Ridge campus.

The NCH Healthcare System operates the 54-bed Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation next to the North Naples Hospital off Immokalee Road. The Brookdale center opened in 2008 to serve elderly patients who often need extra services and recovery after a hospitalization.

Dr. Allen Weiss, NCH president and chief executive officer, said Physicians Regional often refers patients who need that type of care to Brookdale.

NCH has the option to oppose Physicians Regional’s plans when the time comes for that during the application review process, Weiss said.

Levine said HMA is not the only hospital operator interested in adding medical rehabilitation beds; other hospital groups are pursuing it because of health-care reform and how the move is to have an integrated model for patient care.

Detailed applications that include patient volume projections, staffing and cost estimates are due to the state April 10. The state issues its decisions June 7.

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