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Roper St. Francis, MUSC to partner on rehab hospital

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Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital is slated to open later this year. The campus’ medical office building opened at the beginning of December. (Photo/Roper St. Francis Healthcare)Roper St. Francis Healthcare and the Medical University of South Carolina are partnering to build a new rehabilitation hospital on the campus of the future Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital.

Troy Powell, chief administrative officer for post-acute services at Roper St. Francis, said the 43-bed freestanding facility will be an intensive rehabilitation hospital consisting of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and recreational therapy, as well as rehabilitation nursing and other specialties focus on rehab medicine.

In its 2018-2019 South Carolina Health Plan (.pdf), the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control identified the need for 43 additional rehabilitation beds across Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties, and 263 additional rehabilitation beds across the state.

Powell said Roper St. Francis and MUSC chose Berkeley County for the new rehab hospital because of how fast that area is growing.

“When you’re dealing with an inpatient rehab hospitalization, which is typically a bit of a longer length to stay for patients than just being in an acute hospital, folks want to be back in their home communities,” he said.

Roper St. Francis will serve as the managing partner of the rehabilitation hospital.

Roper St. Francis plans to open the main hospital on its Berkeley County campus this fall. The adjacent medical office building opened in December.

A cost for the new rehab hospital has yet to be determined. Powell said he couldn’t provide a timeline for construction or when the hospital might open, but Roper St. Francis and MUSC plan to file a joint request to DHEC to build the rehabilitation hospital. DHEC must issue a certificate of need for any health care project in the state before work can begin.

Lorraine Lutton, president and CEO of Roper St. Francis, said in a news release that working with MUSC is a wise investment for the health care system and the community.

“Health care systems across the country are finding new ways to come together to improve the health and well-being of the communities they serve, and working collaboratively on this future rehab hospital with MUSC is … an important step in making rehab more accessible to the community,” she said.

Dr. Patrick Cawley, MUSC Health CEO and university vice president of health affairs, said in the release that this is not the first time Roper St. Francis and MUSC have partnered — the systems have shared rehabilitation beds in downtown Charleston “for years,” as well as working together to help patients with spinal cord injuries.

MUSC and Roper St. Francis have also collaborated on a stroke care initiative that allows them to share resources, clinical expertise and technology.

“Patients always win when high-quality health care providers work together for their benefit,” Cawley said.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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