Redone and Relocated: UF Health’s new rehabilitation hospital opens this month

Edward Jimenez, the UF Health Shands chief executive officer, speaks Tuesday to an audience of about 50 people during a ribbon-cutting celebrating the upcoming opening of the UF Health Rehab Hospital. Jimenez was one of three speakers who made brief opening remarks before a rain shower cut the outdoor ceremony short. The new rehabilitation facility is located on 2708 SW Archer Road and is expected to begin admitting patients on Feb. 19.

UF’s revamped rehabilitation center will open its doors Feb. 19.

On Tuesday, about 50 employees attended the ribbon-cutting of UF Health and Select Medical’s newly renovated 57,306-square-foot UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital, at 2708 SW Archer Road.

The one-story facility will include more than 50 private suites to care for patients recovering from spinal cord injuries, stroke, brain injuries and other neurological conditions, said Suzanne Questell, the director of business management for UF Health.

The rehabilitation hospital was moved from 4740 NW 39th Place to treat a growing number of patients with more space, said Edward Jimenez, the chief executive officer of UF Health Shands Hospital.

“This is an enormous deal for us,” Jimenez said. “When we think about what happens in a rehab hospital, we start with our people.”

After six years of planning between UF Health and Select Medical, renovations for the new facility began a year and a half ago, Jimenez said. This includes construction of the new 17,339-square-foot wing of the hospital.

“When the opportunity arose to partner with Select Medical, and move to a new facility, we believed that we have a chance to plan for a wonderful future,” he said.

Jimenez said he did not know the cost of the facility. After several attempts, UF Health could not be reached for the cost of the facility. Krista Merkel, a spokesperson for Select Medical, wrote in an email that she is unable to disclose the cost.

The center expects about 30 patients to move in on the opening day when the center begins its full operations, Questell said. Once more patients arrive, the rehabilitation center is looking to take care of 60 patients.

About 250 staff members and nurses of both new employees and staff that worked at the previous rehabilitation hospital are expected to transition to the new facility, Questell said.

Amenities include a gymnasium, two gardens and a home simulation where patients can readjust to tasks in their daily lives like washing clothes or cooking on a stovetop, Questell said.

It is important for patients to begin transitioning back into their daily routines, which most people take for granted, she said.

“Setting up dinner, opening a mailbox, getting out of your car can all be things these patients find difficult to do,” Questell said.

The facility is the second collaboration between UF Health and Select Medical, said David Chernow, the president and CEO of Select Medical.

The first collaboration between the two medical providers was a critical illness hospital, or a long-term care acute facility, at UF Health Shands which opened December 2017.

“It’s wonderful when you have a vision, and you go on this journey of over six years and you can see that it’s reality now,” Chernow said.