Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital plans west Omaha facility

A concept drawing of the planned west Omaha Madonna hospital.

LINCOLN — Leaders of Lincoln's Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital on Thursday announced plans to build a $60million, 120-bed rehabilitation hospital in west Omaha.

Officials said the 200,000-square-foot hospital, to be built along the West Dodge Road corridor, would employ more than 800 people. The project will give officials a chance to “design a state-of-the-art rehabilitation hospital like nothing else in the country and augment what Omaha already has on the acute-care side,” said Marsha Lommel, Madonna's president and CEO.

Options for the site, Lommel said, have been narrowed to two properties of about 25 acres each. Madonna officials are reviewing architectural proposals from three engineering firms.

The project is in the early stages of planning and fundraising. The goal is to have the building in place by mid-2015, Lommel said.

Madonna's largest patient populations are those with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. The Lincoln hospital also treats people with orthopedic and work-related injuries, amputations and neuromuscular diseases, among other conditions, and houses a 14-bed rehab center for children.

While Immanuel Medical Center and Methodist Hospital already provide inpatient rehab in Omaha, Lommel said, Madonna generally sees more severe and complex cases. It also sees patients who usually require longer stays.

An Omaha site, Lommel said, will allow Madonna to expand its service area and give families in the Omaha area the option of staying in town instead of driving to Lincoln every day to visit their relatives going through long-term rehab. Omaha, she said, also has two trauma centers — Creighton University Medical Center and the Nebraska Medical Center — that discharge patients who sometimes need long-term care. Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha also refers many patients to Madonna, she said.

Madonna gets about 240 patients a year from the Omaha area.

The average length of stay for rehabilitation patients at Madonna is 30 days, about double the national average, said Paul Dongilli, Madonna's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The Lincoln hospital, which sits on 23 acres in south-central Lincoln, last year treated patients from 32 states and 74 Nebraska counties and discharged more than 1,500 people.

Lommel said the Omaha market would see an economic impact of $104 million during the two-year construction of the hospital. The project will create an estimated 450 jobs, 250 of which will be construction jobs.

Officials project that the hospital will have $45 million in annual revenue and annual wages of $22million.

David Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber's Economic Development Partnership staff is working with the Madonna team on its site searches.

“We are delighted to welcome Madonna Hospital's expansion of their rehabilitation services to Omaha,” Brown said in a written statement. “It's a great day for our metro area when we announce a $60 million capital investment with 800 new jobs.”

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