At a glance …
• The Memorial Hospital officials are planning to move the hospital’s rehabilitation services to TMH Medical Clinic.
• TMH Rehabilitation Center is currently located in a rented space inside Centennial Mall.
• TMH board members have approved spending up to $125,000 to renovate the clinic.
• Bids for the project were opened Friday.
• The project is to be completed by mid-April.
People who enter Suite 116 in Centennial Mall aren’t looking for a new ottoman, a new outfit, or anything else offered in neighboring stores.
Instead, they’re seeking recovery, whether it’s from a sore back or a recent stroke, said Dale Little, The Memorial Hospital physical therapy manager.
The rented space inside the mall has been home to the hospital’s Rehabilitation Center since 1994, he said.
If all goes according to plan, though, it will have a new home this spring.
TMH officials are looking to move the hospital’s rehabilitation services to The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic, 785 Russell St.
The move makes sense, chief financial officer Bryan Chalmers said, because it would put rehabilitation clients closer to physicians.
“Proximity to the providers is really important,” he said.
Little believes the same.
“We are part of the hospital, and as a result, it will improve our ability to provide services for the customers we treat with the hospital,” he said.
“The move will add a level of convenience for our patients, especially our orthopedic patients. They can have a follow up with their surgeon and they can go directly to physical therapy.”
The rehabilitation center will be located in the clinic’s east end, near an existing cardio-pulmonary center that opened in the summer of 2011.
The space earmarked for the rehabilitation center is now used mainly for storage and laundry, so the move won’t impact physicians already in the clinic, said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence.
“It’s actually just taking … storage space and making it usable space,” Chalmers said. “It’s just repurposing the building to meet our needs.”
Once completed, the newly renovated space will contain a gym, office space, a waiting area and more private treatment rooms.
It also will include a fully functional kitchen complete with a stove and other household appliances, which will help therapists “assist our patients with … activities of daily living,” Little said, which is a critical component of occupational therapy.
The hospital’s 2012 budget, which TMH board members approved, earmarks up to $125,000 for the project. By not paying rent, the hospital will be able to recover that cost within five years, Riley said.
The next step is to choose a contractor that will turn the new rehabilitation center into a brick-and-mortar reality.
The hospital put out a request for bids, and “there’s been a lot of interest,” Chalmers said.
Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich was scheduled to open bids Friday. If the hospital can find a bidder that can do the project within the allotted price range, the new rehabilitation center should be finished by mid-April.
Riley believes the new location will be well worth the time and expense.
“It’s going to be bigger,” she said, “and the amenities there are going to be better for the clients.”
In Little’s eyes, that’s a good thing.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for the hospital and our department, and, I think, for the community,” he said.
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