Minnesota health department opposes rehab hospital plan

The Minnesota Department of Health said it opposes Nobis Rehabilitation's plan for a for-profit rehabilitation hospital in Rosewell, citing concerns over allowing more for-profit providers in the state, the Star Tribune reported Feb. 29.

Nobis proposed plans to build a 60-bed rehab hospital, arguing the shortage of inpatient rehab facilities in Minnesota is worse than other states and the operation would complement existing hospitals instead of compete.

The health department raised concerns that Nobis could worsen worker shortages by hiring caregivers from other facilities instead of bringing their own. The system proposed a 7.6 patient-to-nurse ratio that "gave us tremendous pause" Stefan Gildemeister, state health economist, told the Star Tribune. The average staff ratio for existing rehab units ranges from 2.6 to 4.2.

"The proposed hospital would represent a further move toward profit-driven, private equity financed, freestanding specialty hospital ownership, away from the existing largely not-for-profit community hospital model," Brooke Cunningham, MD, PhD, the state's health commissioner, wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

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