By CHRISTIN COYNE
A Frisco-based hospital company has announced plans to build a physical rehabilitation hospital and begin providing inpatient physical therapy services in Weatherford next spring.
Located on the 3-acre, former American Legion site next door to Weatherford Regional Medical Center, the 27,000-square-foot Weatherford Rehabilitation Hospital will have 26 beds, all private rooms, with a cafeteria and dining facilities as well as a physical and occupational therapy gym area.
The hospital will be owned and operated by Maxim Management Group and is expected to be the first of at least three similar facilities built by the company in North Texas, company CEO Mark Harris said.
“We are looking forward to being a collaborative part of the medical community and enhancing the continuum of care for patients in the greater Weatherford area,” Harris said. “We are especially pleased by the reception from the Weatherford medical community and their enthusiasm to have local access to a high-quality inpatient physical rehabilitation facility.”
Currently, the closest facility offering similar care is 30 miles away in Fort Worth, according to Harris, who said Weatherford is underserved.
A feasibility study showed the Weatherford area has a growing Medicare, or 65 and older, population, Harris said. Weatherford Regional’s admissions have also grown significantly, he said, adding that it’s a growing community.
The referral-only rehab hospital is expected to receive patients coming from Weatherford Regional as well as draw from hospitals in Azle, Mineral Wells and surrounding areas.
They also expect some patients will be referred by skilled nursing facilities, while others, such as post-stroke patients who may be declining, will come from home.
Many area patients have been referred to other facilities but don’t want to make the 30-mile drive, Harris said. They hope to be able to serve that group, as well.
They expect to have about 500 patients each year, according to Harris.
The services they provide are intended to be intermediate care and bridge a gap between medical care at an acute care hospital such as Weatherford Regional and less intensive services provided by home health care or a skilled-nursing facility, Harris said.
Unlike a skilled-nursing facility, the hospital therapists will be full-time employees and provide a minimum of three hours of therapy to each patient every day, Harris said.
In addition to therapy provided in the morning and afternoon, hospital staff help patients learn the activities of daily living, such as grooming themselves in the morning and getting ready for bed at night, he said.
They try to extend the quality of life for patients and keep patients living actively and independently longer, Harris said.
According to the national average, about 80 percent of rehab hospital patients are able to return back home, Harris said.
Patients typically stay 12 to 15 days in a rehab hospital, he said.
During a stay, a team of medical professionals works with the patient and provides diet, nursing, and therapy care.
In addition to 24-hour nursing care provided, the hospital will be equipped to care for those dealing with respiratory disease such as COPD, Harris said.
The rehab hospital is expected to open in February or March and will be Joint Commission (JCAHO) accredited, according to Harris.
They expect to employ between 60 and 80 people, including a local administrator and CEO and therapists who live in the area but are currently commuting to Fort Worth.
Maxim Management Group is currently interviewing for the position of physiatrist, a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation who will oversee the care.
Local doctors will admit and follow their own patients at the hospital, as well.
The rehab hospital will also be working closely with WRMC and purchasing services from the acute care hospital, Harris said.
Dennis Clayton, the executive director of Weatherford Economic Development Authority and WRMC board of trustees chairman, was instrumental in the Weatherford project, according to Harris.
“We are excited that Maxim has selected Weatherford for this new inpatient rehabilitation hospital, and the city economic development office is pleased to have assisted in this new commercial development,” Clayton said in a statement. “Maxim’s participation with our local medical center and physician networks will enhance Weatherford as a regional healthcare center, create skilled jobs, fill a healthcare service gap for our citizens and add to our local tax base.”