Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital will lease the Bellevue Medical Center's fourth floor until Madonna's permanent facility in west Omaha is ready to go.
Madonna plans to start using the space as a formal, licensed hospital in April. The fourth floor includes 36 patient rooms, 32 of which Madonna will use for long-term acute care patients and four for staffers, equipment and supplies.
Madonna officials said it was necessary to start a long-term acute care hospital in Omaha early this year because the federal government will put a moratorium on such hospitals beginning in January 2015. A hospital may be grandfathered in if it has been functioning for at least six months, Madonna administrators said Friday.
Paul Dongilli Jr., executive vice president of Madonna, said the federal government has called for the moratorium in a cost-cutting effort.
Madonna will move from Bellevue to its new facility near Village Pointe in 2016.
Construction and land acquisition for that new hospital in west Omaha will cost $93 million, Madonna spokeswoman Molly Nance said.
A long-term acute care patient may be in a serious state, such as a coma or on a ventilator. Madonna's Lincoln hospital has 96 beds licensed for such care and 78 for acute rehab, where patients don't require as much medical care and are able to work harder at their rehab.
The new west Omaha hospital will include rooms for acute rehab and long-term care as well as a pediatric unit.
Paulette Davidson, chief operating officer at Bellevue Medical Center, said the fourth floor was built with the intention of serving future growth in Sarpy County sometime around 2015. The floor has been used infrequently since the hospital opened in 2010.
“We're happy to help them,” Davidson said of Madonna administrators.