Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Separate hospital to open at St. Luke East



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FORT THOMAS - A Northern Kentucky health care company is opening a hospital within a hospital here for patients who may need to stay several weeks.

Cardinal Hill Healthcare System and the St. Luke Hospitals announced plans Tuesday to build a 33-bed, long-term, acute care hospital. The Cardinal Hill Specialty Hospital is scheduled to open in December in space Cardinal Hill is leasing at St. Luke Hospital East.

Initial equipment cost will be $250,000, said Cynthia Lawhorn Williams, executive director of Cardinal Hill of Northern Kentucky.

The average patient stays in a hospital five days, said Nancy Kremer, senior vice president of St. Luke Hospitals. The new hospital will serve patients who don't need acute care services, but who need more than the care and treatment provided in home health care or at nursing homes, she said.

Williams said the specialty hospital would benefit patients "because they will not have to leave their community for this specialized care."

The average stay for patients would be about 25 days. Among the patients to be treated there will be those suffering pulmonary and neurological problems.

"This gives (patients) another step in the continuum of care, right in the same building, offered by a high-quality provider that is trusted in our community," Kremer said. "It was important for us to find a company that matched our mission of making quality and patient satisfaction top priorities."

The Cardinal Hill Healthcare System includes a 108-bed, long-term rehabilitation hospital in Covington and four outpatient centers. Its primary programs and services include treatment of brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, pulmonary disease, amputation, orthopedics, multiple sclerosis and adult day health centers.

Cardinal Hill and St. Luke have an existing relationship: For 12 years, Cardinal Hill has provided inpatient therapy services to St. Luke Hospital patients.

"Our system is committed to developing an expanded continuum of care throughout Kentucky to better serve those in need of post-acute care services," said Kerry Gillihan, president and CEO of Cardinal Hill Healthcare System. "We are actively responding to the numerous requests of physicians and insurance companies to offer additional services in Northern Kentucky."

E-mail Patrick Crowley at pcrowley@enquirer.com




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