Two North Charleston hospitals and one Charleston facility want to offer rehabilitation services to patients who aren’t well enough to go home.
The Lowcountry needs 14 more rehabilitation beds, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s South Carolina Health Plan, which was adopted last year.
Trident Medical Center, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Charleston and Roper Rehabilitation Hospital all want to add them.
Currently, there are 49 beds at HealthSouth, including three that were added last year, and another 52 at Roper, according to the plan.
Trident and HealthSouth have submitted applications to DHEC for a Certificate of Need, and Roper filed a legal notice on April 9 that it would apply within 20 days.
South Carolina uses the Certificate of Need review process to prevent unnecessary duplication of health care facilities and services, among other things.
The decision, which could take several months, is up to DHEC.
The facilities would serve patients with impairments such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neuromuscular diseases, hip fractures, strokes and joint replacements.
“After the hospital, patients sometimes aren’t well enough to be discharged home, so there’s several options,” said Trident Chief Executive Officer Todd Gallati. “You can discharge them to nursing homes or to long-term acute care facilities, or these beds, which are rehab beds.”
Rehab patients typically spend two to three weeks in the hospital, during which they receive hours of therapy each day.
“The intent is to get folks home and independent as quickly as possible,” said HealthSouth Chief Executive Officer Troy Powell. “It’s about getting folks back to their lives.”
Trident’s $2.9 million proposal is for a new rehab unit, Gallati said. He said it would fill a gap because the hospital currently transfers nearly 100 patients each month for post-acute care. Staying at Trident would be better for the patients.
“Rehab providers in the area aren’t able to provide the medical acuity that we are able to provide in the hospital,” he said.
HealthSouth, a neighbor of Trident, wants to expand its rehabilitation services with a $4.6 million project.
“HealthSouth is very experienced at providing inpatient rehab,” said Powell. “We are purely an inpatient rehab provider and that’s what allows us to be as effective and efficient as we are.”
Roper is proposing a $3.6 million expansion to its downtown hospital-within-a-hospital.
“We are one of only four nationally accredited stroke specialty units in the state, which makes us more in demand and necessitates the need for more rooms,” said Kim Keelor, director of corporate communications for Roper St. Francis Healthcare.
She said the hospital has grown from a 74 percent average daily occupancy rate in 2010 to 87 percent in 2012.
“We are planning for growth,” she said. “We are concerned we are going to have to start turning people away otherwise.”
Jessica Gainey (center), an occupational therapy assistant, works with Jacquelyne Hill at HealthSouth. HealthSouth, Trident Medical Center and Roper Hospital all have multimillion-dollar plans for rehab expansions.×
Jessica Gainey, occupational therapy assistant, works with Jacquelyne Hill who is recovering from a broken hip at HealthSouth. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control will decide which facility or facilities will be able to add the requested rehab beds. (Paul Zoeller/postandcourier.com)×
Jessica Gainey, occupational therapy assistant, works with Jacquelyne Hill who is recovering from a broken hip.×