Published to swtimes.com on October 7, 2019
Written by Times Record Staff

Plans to build Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith are becoming more of a reality thanks to the recent land donation by the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education in Fort Smith’s Chaffee Crossing.

In June, Kindred Healthcare LLC and Mercy announced they had signed a definitive agreement and created a joint venture to construct and operate a 40-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital. It will be called Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith and Kindred will manage day-to-day operations of the facility.

The groundbreaking for Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith is planned for early 2020. Construction is expected to take about 12 months, according to a Mercy news release.

Arkansas Colleges of Health Education donated the 4-acre piece of land for Mercy to build a 49,000-square-foot rehabilitation hospital. The facility will be located next to the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine on the ACHE campus.

“We are so thankful to ACHE for their generous gift and their support in bringing additional inpatient rehabilitation services to our community,” Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, says in the news release. “We’ve had a strong relationship with ACHE for many years and we look forward to more opportunities to partner in the future.”

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Smith will care for adults recovering from conditions like stroke, neurological disease, injury to the brain or spinal cord and other debilitating illnesses or injuries. The hospital will serve as a teaching site for students in ACHE’s School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy, which will open soon.

This is just one way that Mercy and ACHE have collaborated to provide the very best care to the community while teaching the next generation of health-care providers, the release states.

“Our partnership with Mercy has been a critical element in fulfilling our mission to improve lives in our community,” Kyle D. Parker, J.D., CEO of ACHE, says in the release. “Through these cooperative efforts, we are excited to expand health care and provide learning environments for our students.”

In 2017, Mercy and ACHE collaborated to build Mercy Clinic Chaffee Crossing, a 13,500-square-foot primary care clinic on the grounds of ACHE’s Fort Smith campus. The clinic serves as a teaching clinic for ARCOM.