New rehab hospital slated for Palomar Medical Center campus

New rehab hospital set for southwest Escondido.

A second, smaller, hospital is slated for the Palomar Medical Center campus with an opening hoped for in late summer 2019.

Louisville-based Fortune 500 giant Kindred Healthcare, Inc. this week announced it signed a definitive agreement with Palomar Health to create a joint venture to construct and operate a new two-story, 58.000-square-foot, 52-bed standalone inpatient rehabilitation hospital.

Palomar Health already operates an 11- story, 740,000-square-foot medical center on the campus that includes 288 private single patient rooms, 50 emergency and trauma rooms, and 12 operating rooms. Completed at a total cost of $956 million this facility can be expanded to twice it’s current size.

Kindred will own a slight majority in the joint venture and manage day-to-day operations of the new hospital. The agreement is subject to several regulatory and other approvals, but expected to go through.

“We look forward to expanding our relationship with Palomar with this new hospital,” said Benjamin A. Breier, Kindred’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This new hospital will provide inpatient rehabilitation services that complement Palomar’s highly regarded acute care services and help patients recover and return home.”

Kindred and Palomar have an existing relationship as Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services manages the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Palomar Health’s Downtown Campus.

Also in the San Diego market, Kindred operates a transitional care hospital and home health and hospice services. Palomar Health, the largest and most comprehensive healthcare system in northern San Diego County, operates three hospitals, including Palomar Medical Center, which opened in 2012.

“We at Palomar Health are delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with Kindred Healthcare, an internationally recognized expert in rehabilitation,” said Robert Hemker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Palomar Health.

“This joint venture to build a new inpatient rehabilitation hospital demonstrates our commitment to Patient First care allowing us to expand our high quality and trusted rehabilitation services,” Hemker said.

The agreement comes as Palomar works to move its existing inpatient rehabilitation program, which has been run by Kindred since 2000 at the old Palomar Medical Center building in downtown Escondido.

Palomar, which has said it must close its downtown operations for financial reasons, is seeking permission from state regulators to open a 15-bed rehab wing on the seventh floor of its new hospital temporarily replacing the existing unit, which averages 20 patients per day.

Frank Beirne, Palomar’s executive vice president of operations, said it will be necessary to send some rehabilitation patients to other locations until Palomar and Kindred finish building the two-story, 58,000-square-foot rehab hospital.

Acute rehabilitation hospitals focus on patients recovering from conditions such as strokes, brain injuries and joint replacement surgeries who require more intense rehab services than is typically available in a skilled nursing facility, said Richard Kathrins, vice chair of the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association.

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