Mercy-Iowa City to build inpatient rehab hospital

This is an artist’s rendition of the future Mercy inpatient rehabilitation hospital that will be built in Coralville.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

IOWA CITY — An inpatient rehabilitation hospital, the first of its kind in southeast Iowa, will be built as a joint venture between Mercy Iowa City and Kindred Healthcare, LLC. The facility will be built in Coralville on property owned by Mercy near its Coral West Health Center.
The Iowa State Health Facilities Council issued the certificate of need, which will allow the 40-bed inpatient rehab facility to be built, said Margaret Reese, president of Mercy Hospital Foundation and communications director for Mercy Iowa City.

Reese said patients who no longer require acute level care but need intensive rehabilitation will be admitted to the Coralville hospital. The new hospital will care for adults recovering from conditions such as stroke, neurological disease, injury to the brain or spinal cord and other long-term illnesses or injuries.

She said that Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines and Kindred opened Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital in Clive, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines, in June 2018. The 50-bed hospital is Iowa’s first and currently only freestanding inpatient rehabilitation hospital. “Kindred has a large footprint in Iowa already,” she noted.


Patients at the Coralville facility will receive a minimum of three hours or up to a maximum of six hours of rehabilitation daily. That can include physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Reese noted that patients who go to a skilled-care facility in Iowa receive fewer hours of daily rehab. The Coralville facility is licensed for a maximum 28-day stay. “If more care is needed, we can refer patients to skilled nursing or home care,” Reese noted.

Lack of space prevents the new facility from being built in Iowa City. It will be built next door to the existing Coral West Health Center on several acres that Mercy Iowa City already owns. No new beds are being added in Johnson County. Mercy Iowa City will transfer 40 beds from its license to Coralville.

“This is very much needed and is very exciting,” said Reese. She said officials hope to have a ground blessing this year and a ground breaking in spring 2019, with the hospital opening in the second quarter of 2020.

“Mercy Iowa City is known statewide for the high quality of care it provides and its leadership role in working with others to meet health needs in not only Johnson County but throughout southeast Iowa,” said Sean Williams, president and CEO of Mercy Iowa City.

“We know there is a tremendous need for inpatient rehabilitation care in our service area. By working with Kindred we can provide an extraordinary level of care for patients much closer to home, which is beneficial for both the patients and their loved ones. Our partnership with Kindred aligns perfectly with Mercy’s mission to heal, comfort and improve the health of the community in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.”

“We look forward to partnering with Mercy Iowa City to build and operate this facility, our second hospital with Mercy in the state of Iowa, to address the growing need for inpatient rehabilitation services in the state,” said Jason Zachariah, president of Kindred Rehabilitation Services, a division of Kindred Healthcare.

Kindred Healthcare, LLC is a healthcare services company based in Louisville, Ky. It has sites in 45 states, including 74 long-term acute care hospitals, 22 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, 11 sub-acute units, 98 inpatient rehabilitation units (hospital-based) and contract rehabilitation service businesses which serve 1,689 non-affiliated sites of service.

Mercy Iowa City was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1873 and became an affiliate of Mercy Health Network in 2017. To learn more, visit

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