RehabCare Group Inc, St. Louis, and the Seton Family of Hospitals have teamed up to expand post-acute and rehabilitation services for the growing Central Texas region. The two organizations have entered into a joint venture, which will entail developing a new freestanding facility in Austin that will house an Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) and a Long-term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH). Financial terms were not disclosed.

“After a great deal of analysis and reflection, Seton decided that a joint venture agreement with RehabCare is the best way to meet our responsibility to provide the highest quality rehab and long-term acute care for the exploding population of Central Texas,” says Charles Barnett, president and CEO of the Seton Family of Hospitals. “It was determined this business approach will help us most quickly add new clinical services for patients, their families and physicians, as well as create a continuum of care which currently doesn’t exist for patients of the Seton Family of Hospitals.”

Barnett added that patients and the medical community will also benefit from the clinical research arm of RehabCare, which is devoted to provision of evidence-based rehabilitative care.

John H. Short, PhD, RehabCare president and CEO, said the company is pleased to be partnering with Seton in this project.

“The Seton name has been synonymous with safe, high-quality care and a devotion to public service,” Short says. “We are excited to be affiliated with the premier healthcare provider in Central Texas and by the opportunity to enhance our own continuum of care in the region.”

Barnett said the project with RehabCare will be completed in two stages, the first phase involving transitioning Seton Medical Center’s existing 26-bed SNF into a 20-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility, expected to be operational by mid-2007 following necessary renovations.

“Simultaneously, we will be negotiating a lease on a building that will accommodate a new 36-bed IRF and a roughly 40-bed LTACH,” says Barnett, who anticipates a 2009 opening. At that time, the IRF within Seton Medical Center Austin will relocate to the new facility and the space will be converted to additional acute care beds.

RehabCare will provide management for the daily operations of both hospitals, as well as the interim IRF, while Seton will supply ancillary and support services. All hospital staff, including nursing and therapy, will be employed by the joint venture.

The hospitals will be known separately as Central Texas Rehabilitation Hospital and Central Texas Specialty Hospital. Each will be identified as Partners of the Seton Family of Hospitals and RehabCare.

[SOURCE: Business Wire, October 2006]