Kent County commissioners have authorized the Kent Hospital Finance Authority to issue, sell and deliver up to $15 million worth of bonds on behalf of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
When the bonds are sold, the finance authority will loan the proceeds to Mary Free Bed, which will use the funds to finance an expansion and renovation project and to purchase the latest rehab equipment.
The project would add about 245,000 square feet to the existing hospital at 235 Wealthy St. SE. Mary Free Bed will use that space to establish a 48-bed nursing home, add 40 private rooms, create a 40-bed traumatic brain and spinal cord injury unit and increase its parking.
“The remainder of the project is to renovate the existing facility,” said hospital Vice President of Finance Randy DeNeff.
The renovation work will focus on the pediatric and adult physical rehabilitation units and the psychological outpatient therapy and support division. It also includes upgrades to physician offices, a medical clinic, a gift shop, and mechanical, administrative and housekeeping areas.
“We are making a significant investment to expand and renovate our Wealthy Street campus in order to better serve the needs of patients and their families. From creating all-private patient rooms to upgrading family accommodations to adding new state-of-the-art equipment, Mary Free Bed is working to enhance the outcomes of our patients and to help them become as independent as possible,” Kent Riddle, Mary Free Bed CEO, told the Business Journal earlier this year.
The new facility, which will be connected to the existing hospital, will offer larger therapy areas and guest quarters. A portion of the investment will be used to purchase the most recent rehabilitative equipment, which will be installed in both the new and existing therapy units.
Mary Free Bed also plans to consolidate all its outpatient services. Currently, the clinics, pediatrics and rehab services are in two buildings. The project will transform its 80 semi-private rooms into private ones. There will be 40 in the addition and 40 in the existing portion.
Mary Free Bed employs 830, and Riddle said he expects the staff to top 1,000 in the coming year or so.
The project has been undertaken because Riddle said Mary Free Bed grew by 10 percent over the past year. The increase is largely due to the rehabilitation network it launched in June 2011. Riddle strongly felt the market for Mary Free Bed’s services will continue and will support the expansion and renovation plan.
“This is really kind of exciting because it would be the first step in growth of the campus in terms of in-patient care in 35 years.”