Smeltzer Named Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital CEO

June 6, 2012



Sharon Smeltzer, Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital CEO

OKLAHOMA CITY – Mercy has named Sharon Smeltzer CEO of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital, and with Smeltzer’s extensive experience in rehabilitation medicine and operations, the hospital and its future patients are in good hands.

Smeltzer joins Mercy after serving as vice president of rehabilitation services for INTEGRIS Health’s Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital. She has 20 years experience as a therapist and an administrator in rehabilitation settings.

“Sharon is a wonderful addition to the Mercy family. She has an inspiring focus on patient satisfaction and medical excellence,” said Jim Gebhart, president of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. “Her expertise as we construct this facility has proven invaluable, and we’re confident in her ability to continue that standard for our patients as the facility opens, and beyond.”

Smeltzer earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a master’s in communication disorders from The University of Oklahoma. She served the U.S. Navy as a construction battalion engineering aide, drafting and surveying for amphibious construction battalions – experience which has helped guide decision making during the construction of the new $14 million, 50,000-square-foot comprehensive facility she oversees.

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital is scheduled to open this fall, partnering with Centerre Healthcare Corporation – a national leader in the development and operation of rehabilitation hospitals.

“Rehabilitation patients have guided the construction of this hospital with more influence than I’ve ever seen,” said Smeltzer. “From the time we began discussions about this facility, we’ve worked closely with a group of a dozen patients, their families and community members who have been able to give us – the medical staff – a candid look at the patients’ experiences in rehabilitative care and what we can do to improve upon that.”

The freestanding 50-bed Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital, at Memorial Road and MacArthur Boulevard in northwest Oklahoma City, will provide inpatient rehabilitation services for patients with strokes, brain or spinal-cord injuries, amputations, complex orthopedic injuries and other conditions. The new facility and its enhanced features will allow Mercy to significantly expand its current rehab services, both in capacity and capability.

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital opens fall 2012

“We will continue to provide exceptional patient care with an emphasis on improving individual functional ability and quality of life,” said Mercy rehab physician, A.J. Bisson, M.D.

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital will also link to Mercy’s electronic health record (EHR). Recently named one of the nation’s “Most Wired” health care organizations, Mercy is among only 6 percent of hospitals nationwide with an EHR sophisticated enough to access and share medical records among multiple Mercy facilities in a four-state area.

The hospital will be designed to promote recuperation outside the traditional hospital setting. The new facility will incorporate many unique features, including:

  • Brain-injury unit with monitored rooms, specialized beds, patient lifts and dedicated therapy space and dining area
  • Dedicated stroke unit with specialized equipment
  • Gymnasiums featuring high-tech therapy devices and treatments
  • Specially equipped rooms for bariatric patients
  • Special apartment where patients and families can practice daily living tasks
  • Private, family-friendly rooms with sleeper chairs
  • Pet therapy and other recreational programs
  • Outdoor healing garden and walking trail to assist in rehabilitation

“We are delighted to announce our second partnership with such an outstanding, high quality organization as Mercy and expect this to be as successful as Mercy’s rehabilitation hospital in St Louis,” said Patrick Foster, CEO of Kindred Healthcare. “This state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility will be dedicated to the mission of treating those who have suffered a devastating illness or injury, with the goal of returning each patient home at the highest level of independence possible.”

The rehabilitation hospital is just one of many Mercy projects on the horizon. Over the next eight years, Mercy plans to make $772 million in capital improvements in Oklahoma. At a community roundtable hosted by Mercy in Oklahoma City, Sen. David Holt, District 30, said “What really struck me is that Mercy is investing $772 million in Oklahoma, while the city of Oklahoma City will spend $777 million on the MAPS 3 project. That’s an amazing commitment.”


Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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