Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Oklahoma City Opens Mid-October

October 8, 2012

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Oklahoma City

Image cut lines and downloadable individual photos are available on Mercy's Flickr.

Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital: (405) 384-5250

OKLAHOMA CITY – The 50-bed Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital at Memorial Road and Macarthur Boulevard is getting finishing touches this week, in preparation for its opening Oct. 17.

“It’s been an exciting year,” said Sharon Smeltzer, Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital CEO. “Every day we come to work and see something new. Just like the therapy that will take place under this roof in a couple of weeks, it’s incredible daily progress.”

In August 2011, in a partnership with Centerre Healthcare Corporation – a national leader in the development and operation of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals – Mercy broke ground on the $22 million facility, which will employ 150 staff.

“We at Centerre Healthcare are delighted to join with Mercy Hospital to deliver superior rehabilitation services in the local community,” said Patrick Foster, CEO of Centerre Healthcare. “The culture of this facility and staff is to provide superior clinical outcomes to the patients we serve, with superior patient, family and physician satisfaction. Our goal is to return each and every patient to their home and to work where they can function as an active productive member of society.”

Since its inception, the hospital’s construction has been closely guided by an advisory board with first-hand rehabilitation experience.

“Almost every design decision from the hospital layout, to the size of the private bathrooms was impacted by the advisory group,” said Jim Gebhart, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City president and Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital board chairman. “Their input was invaluable. We actually moved a major entrance of the building around to the back, based on their feedback that they’d like more privacy when being transported. Only someone who has experienced rehab would know what a huge difference that’s going to make.”

The hospital floor plan helps separate noisy, common areas from quiet, calming patient spaces. The cafeteria, large rehab gym and entrance are on the west side of the building, while patient rooms, day rooms, a chapel and consultation rooms are on the east side.

The inpatient hospital houses three rehabilitation units in four separate wings: stroke, brain injury and general rehab. The designated areas for brain injury and stroke rehab allow specialists to fine-tune their environments and treatments to best benefit the patients. The close proximity to others experiencing similar obstacles is emotionally therapeutic for patients and their families, too.

“We know it’s more than a physical journey,” said Smeltzer. “A physical trauma that requires rehabilitation usually comes with emotional trauma. It’s important for patients to stay positive throughout rehabilitation, and being able to relate to someone going through the same thing as you is such a comfort.”

Mercy also focused on spiritual comfort in designing the facility. Crosses are intentionally and subtly present in windows, tiles and beams throughout the hospital. And a chapel for quiet reflection, prayer or meditation is available all hours.

Because nature also helps to calm and uplift the spirit, the building was designed to bring the outside inside, with 8-foot picture windows in every room and walls of windows in common areas, like hallways, day rooms, the cafeteria and the large rehabilitation gym. The countless windows provide views of the 5.5 acre grounds complete with native landscaping and intentionally preserved green space, such as the grass pavement.

Construction codes require the building to be surrounded by surfaces structurally sound to support a fire truck. Rather than traditional asphalt or concrete paved way, designers got creative and installed what’s known as grass pavement – a section of concrete with drainage, covered by honeycombed, rubberized tiles installed beneath sod that support heavy machinery and allow grass to grow through it. This fulfilled code requirements and preserved a half football field-sized space behind the hospital for co-workers, patients and their families to enjoy day-to-day.

Designers also focused on the comfort of visitors, knowing how caregiver support positively impacts patients during recovery. All patient rooms are private, and include a private bathroom, secure storage and sleepers for guests. All furnishings in the hospital are hotel quality with health care durability, to ensure comfort and cleanliness. The facility has several common areas for visitors and patients to relax, including a day room, walking path and patio area.

Another patio on the north side of the building is for work, rather than relaxation. Outside, patients will practice walking up and down stairs, through doors, up and down ramps and across various surfaces like brick, decking, gravel and asphalt and they progress in therapy. The outdoor therapy area is also where patients will fine tune motor skills with a 16-foot golf putting green and several gardening areas.

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, nearly 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

Centerre Healthcare Corporation is a national provider of inpatient acute rehabilitation services, dedicated solely to partnering with medical centers to complement their healthcare continuum through joint development and operation of acute rehabilitation hospitals and units. Modern Healthcare named Centerre as the fastest growing hospital company in the United States in 2012.  Centerre Healthcare facilities rank  among  the top  inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) in the IRF database of Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR); a ranking which provides a measure of the company’s quality clinical outcomes.  Centerre has been named in the annual ranking of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America by Inc. magazine.  For more about Centerre, visit


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