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Health care company eyes former Sisters of Notre Dame property

One of the nation’s largest providers of post-acute health care services wants to build a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital on Monroe Street at Secor Road on the former Sisters of Notre Dame property where Kroger once planned to build a new store.

Encompass Health Corp. of Birmingham, Ala., plans to spend $27 million to construct the 48,000-square foot, single-story hospital that would initially employ about 88 workers.

Through its local project manager, Mannik and Smith Group of Maumee, the company submitted plans for the hospital on May 9 to the Toledo Plan Commission. It is seeking a change in zoning on the site from residential to commercial/office.

The project has been placed on the plan commission’s June 13 meeting agenda, but city planners have not given a recommendation yet.

Encompass Health also has scheduled a public meeting on Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 4441 Monroe St., so West Toledo residents can discuss and ask questions about the project.

If the project receives all of the proper approvals, Encompass said it could begin construction by this fall, with a grand opening sometime in 2020.

Although it would begin with 40 beds, hospital plans show it could be expanded by another 26,000 square feet, add 28 beds, and increase the workforce to 125 workers by 2025.

Entering and exiting the hospital would be from Monroe Street only at the existing entry road across from Page Plus. A plan commission official said there would not be a need for a traffic light.

The project would use only about half of the 18½-acre site at 3837 Secor Rd. Kroger still owns the property, but a spokesman was unavailable Friday to comment on what the supermarket chain might do with the remaining 10 acres of land.

Hospital plans submitted to the commission show a single-story building with a center physical therapy courtyard and a gazebo. The building also would have an indoor physical therapy area, a dining area, a kitchen, and administrative offices. A 12-foot high fence would separate the facility from Notre Dame Academy High School.

Encompass is using a Sarasota, Fla., architectural firm, Frederick & Associates, to design the hospital.

Technically, this would not be the first Encompass facility in Toledo and not the first time its presence made headlines in Toledo.

In 1995, Encompass — which was known then as HealthSouth Corp. — began developing and operating six sports medicine clinics and rehabilitation centers in the Toledo area.

But the company under then-CEO and HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy ran afoul of the law in 2005 when he was charged with accounting fraud, money laundering, extortion and other crimes in a 30-count indictment. He was later convicted and served six years in jail.

By coincidence, in 1999 Toledo’s HCR ManorCare and HealthSouth were on the verge of a multimillion-dollar merger when HealthSouth, at Scrushy’s order, abruptly canceled the deal. In testimony at Scrushy’s trial, witnesses said the former CEO canceled the deal because he feared that executives at ManorCare would immediately spot the accounting fraud at HealthSouth had the deal gone through.

In the mid-2000s, as HealthSouth attempted to rebound from the fraud, it began divesting its assets, including the sports clinics in the Toledo area.

In the past decade it has shifted into rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies, and hospice agencies. In 2018 it dropped the HealthSouth name and rebranded as Encompass, a name used by a Dallas-based home health and hospice company acquired in 2014.

Its footprint includes 131 hospitals, 221 home health locations, and 59 hospice locations in 37 states and Puerto Rico. In 2018 the publicly traded company reported revenues of $4.28 billion and has been ranked as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

An inpatient rehabilitation hospital cares for patients who have been discharged from large acute-care hospitals but still require continual care following surgery, an incapacitating injury such as a stroke or brain injury, or an illness or injury requiring physical therapy.

Kroger purchased the Notre Dame site in 2017 for $6.7 million after securing an option to buy it in December 2014. It went through a four-year whirlwind of meetings, rejections, and approvals to build a new store on the site, only to cancel its plans in 2018 when it had a corporate-wide change in strategic plans to build fewer stores and focus more on technology and home delivery.


Posted By: The Blade on May 24, 2019.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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