GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced plans to build the state's first children's rehabilitation hospital in Grand Rapids.
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital will jointly operate the new facility that will be built on Wealthy Street across from Mary Free Bed's main campus.
A pedestrian walkway will connect the hospitals.
Once the entire $60 million budget is secured through private and public investments, the two-story facility is expected to take about two years to build. $10 million has been allotted to this project by the state.
"We're just incredibly grateful to Governor Whitmer and to the Michigan legislature for allocating $10 million for this rehabilitation center very critical center that we need," Dr. Douglas Henry, Mary Free Bed pediatric rehabilitation physician, says. "We need a more kid-friendly environment, need a lot more space to do it. And with that, we can provide a deeper richer care for these kids and the families."
Construction on the project could start as soon as Spring 2023.
Since 2016, Mary Free Bed has seen a sharp increase in the number of children they treat across Michigan. Last year, Mary Free Bed cared for 57% of Michigan's children who needed inpatient rehabilitation.
Local pediatrician Dr. Ronald Hofman, of Alger Pediatrics, says he knows the need is there to not only treat children after a catastrophe, but also those who have physical and learning difficulties.
"As a community care provider, I'm very excited for the kids that we serve" he says. "The tools that we have to employ, to have families be able to have their children involved in all the aspects of our society is really critical. And these two institutions are both vitally involved in that."
Dr. Hofman says this facility is a chance to streamline care for patients.
"They have the opportunity to have an amalgamation of care so that everybody's talking together, rather than piecemeal, is really going to be big," he says.
"We believe there are kids who would greatly benefit from rehabilitation who aren't receiving it," President & CEO of Mary Free Bed Kent Riddle said.
"The new hospital is projected to serve 20% more patients by the third year of operation."
Once complete, this facility will be the ninth free-standing children's hospital in the United States. The hospital will have a dozen in-patient rooms, outpatient treatment areas and medical equipment specifically made for children.
"This new pediatric rehabilitation facility brings together highly specialized, integrated programs with exceptional physicians and caregivers to help children receive the treatment and therapies they need, when they need it," Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, BHSH System said.
"We are proud of our partnership with Mary Free Bed, built on a foundation of shared values, medical excellence, inspiring all involved."
Beyond the $10 million secured for this project from Michigan's latest state budget, Gov. Whitmer said the budget does not raise taxes.
You can read more on the budget here:
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