When the leadership at Mercy Hospital St. Louis wanted to expand the hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation service offerings and move them offsite, they found a natural partner in Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services. 

“Mercy looked to partner with someone who had the expertise in inpatient rehab,” said Donna Flannery, Executive Director of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital.

Mercy is a large health care system, but acute rehabilitation was not an area of strength or focus. Kindred’s size and national presence appealed to Mercy’s leaders, who felt that Kindred’s experience in operating inpatient rehabilitation units could complement the expertise in acute care that Mercy brought to the table, creating a strong rehabilitation hospital that both parties felt could bring the best in care to patients.

“We want to lean on each other for what we both do well, and that’s created a seamless care transition for the patient,” said Jason Zachariah, Chief Operating Officer for Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services. Patients are treated in Mercy’s acute care hospital, then transition over to Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital for two to three weeks of intensive rehabilitation, and then transition home. Kindred, which operates all levels of post-acute care in many settings nationally, is a leader in moving patients through the continuum of care while effectively managing the challenges that come with care transitions.

Mercy Hospital and Kindred created a joint venture to develop, own and operate Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital, a freestanding, inpatient rehabilitation hospital that opened in 2006. Mercy Hospital contributed the assets of its existing rehabilitation unit to the joint venture and Kindred contributed the necessary resources to develop and initially fund the hospital. Ownership interests in joint venture partnerships are determined by the relative value of each party’s contribution. The hospital is governed by a managing board comprised of members from both Mercy Hospital and Kindred. The medical leadership of the hospital was nominated by Mercy Hospital and the day-to-day operations of the rehabilitation hospital are administered by Kindred through a management agreement. The rehabilitation hospital provides nursing and therapy services as well as medical oversight and direction, but most ancillary clinical services such as lab and radiology were purchased by the joint venture from Mercy Hospital, through an ancillary services agreement. Profits of the joint venture are distributed on a pro rata basis with each partner’s ownership interest.

The Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services acute therapy program is centered around providing partners with clinically appropriate decision-making about patient care: what therapy services patients receive, when they receive them, who delivers them and how positively patients experience them.

Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services’ primary goal is to improve the well-being and physical abilities of patients so that they might enjoy the highest quality of life possible – that’s why the dedicated clinical teams with Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services create personalized therapy programs and goals that produce positive clinical outcomes, improve function and create a full recovery for patients.

“We’re very proud of the quality results that our patients experience after their stay here at Mercy Rehab Hospital St. Louis,” said Don Kalicak, Vice President, Development, Mercy Hospital St. Louis.

Lean design that is patient-centered in nature is a hallmark of the partnership, and the hospital uses national benchmarks to ensure it is always striving to deliver the highest quality outcomes for each patient. Kindred’s experience with the regulatory and documentation aspects of patient care allows physicians, nurses and other clinicians to turn their focus to patient care and to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.

“The relationship is strong because both organizations strive to be partners,” said Kalicak.

The medical leadership reports that the seamless combination of the two entities creates one unit that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

“One facility with the same vision, the same goals, you don’t know there’s a Kindred aspect, a Mercy aspect, you know it’s one facility operating very efficiently,” said Stephen Veluz, Director of Internal Medicine at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital is now serving as a model for Mercy facilities in other parts of the country, including Oklahoma City and Springfield, Mo.

Zachariah said the goal is to weave into the culture and fabric of partner organizations, bringing Kindred’s overall Continue the Care mantra of the best in care delivery throughout every patient’s entire episode of care.

Said Rod Thorley, Medical Director of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital: “I’ve noticed a vision to improve the whole process, from hospitalization all the way to home.”

By Kindred Rehabilitation Services