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Biggest medical news of the month: Post Falls to open 30-bed rehab center in 2013

Kootenai Health, the company that runs Kootenai Medical Center, has joined deal with a New Mexico company to build a 30-bed rehabilitation hospital in Post Falls.

Called the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest, the $11 million center is expected to open in fall 2013 and employ roughly 120 people.

Operating the center will be Ernest Health Inc., an Albuquerque company that operates 18 rehab centers and hospitals throughout the United States. It also operates the Northern Idaho Advanced Care Hospital, an acute-care facility in Post Falls.

The new rehab center will be on the same campus as the advanced care hospital, in a free-standing building, said Linda Murphy, a spokeswoman for the new facility.

Kootenai Medical Center has 14 beds for rehab care, but is often unable to take patients due to care limitations.

The new facility will provide care for patients needing a range of services, including rehab for those with head or spinal injuries, said Jeremy Evans, vice president of professional services for Kootenai Medical Center, which is operated by Kootenai Health.

Doctors and practitioners, including rehab-care workers now at Kootenai Medical Center, will be encouraged to work at the new facility, said Evans.

Kootenai Health is not investing money in the project, Evans added. “We see this as a great opportunity to partner with a national company with expertise and to help us broaden the scope of services available to the community,” he said.

KMC Is Top Kootenai Co Employer

For those keeping score at home, the top employer in Kootenai County — and 4 of the 5 North Idaho counties for that matter — is a public entity rather than a private one, according to a StateImpact report. And here are the top 5 Kootenai County employers:

1. Kootenai Medical Center 1,800 - 1,900
2. Center Partners Inc 1,700 - 1,800
3. Coeur D'Alene School Dist #271 1,300 - 1,400
4. North Idaho College 900 - 1,000
5. Hagadone Hospitality Co 900 - 1,000

You can see the full report for all Idaho counties here.

Deanna Rebounding After Heart Scare

I just got off the phone with Coeur d’Alene Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander, who is still at Kootenai Medical Center after suffering a heart attack last Wednesday. She told me that she woke up that morning with pain in her hands and asked her daughter to take her to the hospital. At the hospital, she said her heart stopped five times as a result of a blockage of a blood vessel in the back. CPR was performed successfully. Fortunately, a heart specialist was on the scene. He was able to remove the blockage and put a stent in the vessel. Deanna, who was in good spirits despite a badly bruised chest (as a result of the CPR), said that she hadn’t intended to keep her condition secret: “I thought everyone in town knew about this.” She said her doctor advised her that she should take it easy for awhile. She looks forward to getting back at the podium and doing her official work which she enjoys so much.

Area hospitals score above-average in ‘most wired’ survey

The publication Hospitals and Health Networks revamped its method of coming up with its 99 “most wired” U.S. hospital list. It claims it’s created a more accurate set of surveys given to medical IT directors asking questions on clinical quality, patient safety, continuum of care and business and management functions. It just released the results at its site.

If you live in the Inland Northwest and Spokane area, you have your pick, since nearly every hospital within 150 miles of downtown Spokane made the list. The Spokane group include Deaconess Medical Center, Sacred Heart Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital, St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, and Valley Hospital and Medical Center.

Coeur d’Alene’s Kootenai Medical Center also made the top-99 group.

In the list’s separate category for small and rural facilities, the regional  “most wired” list includes:

  • Providence Mt. Carmel, in Colville.
  • Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Chewelah.
  • Pullman Regional Hospital, Pullman.
  • Whitman Hospital and Medical Center, Colfax.
  • Mid-Valley Hospital, in Omak.
  • Samaritan Hospital, Moses Lake.


CdA Tribe Now No. 2 NIdaho Employer

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has become one of North Idaho’s largest employers, issuing paychecks to nearly 1,700 people last year. Only Kootenai Health, the parent company of Kootenai Medical Center, a cancer and heart center, and several clinics, had more workers. The tribe employed 1,699 people last year at the Coeur d’Alene Casino and other government and business ventures, according to a University of Idaho study released Tuesday. The Idaho Department of Labor, which calculates employment slightly differently, said the tribe had 1,549 workers in 2009, compared to 1,813 at Kootenai Health. “The real story here is the tribe’s emergence as one of the region’s largest employers,” said Steven Peterson, UI economics professor who did the study. “They have diversified and expanded in all directions”/Becky Kramer, SR. More here. (SR File Photo/Betsy Russell: Chief Allen, Coeur d’Alene tribal chairman is shown at the Statehouse.)

Question: Given the emergence of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe as a major employer in North Idaho, does it make any sense that it is treated poorly by Benewah County elected officials?