Eighteen HCA Healthcare facilities named to U.S. best physical rehabilitation center list

A male physical rehabilitation patient sitting with a female physical therapist and reaching for a ball another female physical therapist is holding
Lisa Hyde, physical therapist, Ky Hoelscher, social worker, and Natalie Hiddemen, physical therapist (St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital)

Newsweek recently announced its roundup of America’s Best Physical Rehab Centers 2021, naming 18 HCA Healthcare facilities to the list. The awards, presented by Newsweek and Statista Inc., highlight the nation’s top inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) based on quality of care, quality of service, quality of follow-up care and accommodation and amenities.

Operating in 16 states nationwide, HCA Healthcare is the largest hospital-based provider of inpatient rehabilitation in the United States. Our physical rehabilitation specialists support the unique needs of patients through customized therapy sessions – with the ultimate goal of helping them regain independence to safely return to their homes.

A group of physical and occupational therapists.
Methodist Hospital Stone Oak Rehabilitation Center in San Antonio, Texas is one of 18 HCA Healthcare affiliates recently named a Best Physical Rehabilitation Center by Newsweek.

Following a hospital stay, HCA Healthcare’s continuum of care may involve intensive short-term rehab or longer-term restorative care. Our post-acute care includes a range of medical services to support a patient’s continued recovery from after injury, surgery or illness. Doctors, nurses and therapists at HCA Healthcare’s post-acute care facilities often see patients who have suffered from strokes, brain injuries, joint replacements and severe fractures.

Did you know?

HCA Healthcare’s inpatient rehab care teams treated more than 34,000 patients in 2020.

The 18 HCA Healthcare facilities that made Newsweek’s 2021 list of the country’s Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers are:

Five physical and occupational therapists wearing scrubs and face masks.
St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Austin, Texas, earned a spot on Newsweek’s 2021 Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers list.

St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, and St. David’s North Austin Medical Center also made U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals for Rehabilitation 2021 list, ranking among the nation’s top 50 rehabilitation providers.

Colleague Q&A

We spoke with Clement Hakim, program director at Blake Medical Center, and Sherrill Oates, administrative director of clinical operations at Methodist Hospital Stone Oak Rehabilitation Center, to find out why their programs are top-notch.

On the left, a man wearing glasses and a button down shirt. On the right, a woman wearing a floral top.
(L) Clement Hakim, program director at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Florida. (R) Sherrill Oates, administrative director of clinical operations at Methodist Hospital Stone Oak Rehabilitation Center in San Antonio, Texas.

What are patients and their loved ones looking for in a rehab center?

Clement: “Patients are looking for better outcomes and safety. The fact that our rehab center is hospital-based provides an extra layer of safety. We have all of the medical services available at Blake Medical Center. Specialists can come and visit our patients and the rapid response team can assist us if we need them.”

Sherrill: “Our patients are looking for inclusion in the process. They want to be involved in goal setting, they want their family to be trained on the equipment, or know how to take care of them getting in and out of a car or a chair, and they want to know their options for services after discharge. All of that starts at admission. Our case members have that conversation with the family and get their wishes and expectations and that discharge plan develops throughout the stay. By the time the patient comes to discharge, they know what to expect and the family has been trained.”

Two women looking at a monitor in a rehabilitation center.
(L to R) Megan Koppenhoefer, administrative director of rehabilitation services, and Abby Oelker, occupational therapist, at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas.

Why do you think your facility made Newsweek’s list?

Clement: “We provide excellent care and our patients are leaving happy from our facility and able to stay home instead of bouncing back to the hospital. It shows with our excellent outcomes. We implemented a meeting where we have the entire care team attend and we invite the family to join us so we align our expectations and meet the patient’s needs. It occurs on the third day of admission — we want to identify any barriers we are working against to get them back home safely. The meeting is early enough without being too early to have that open dialog with the family and the patient.”

Sherrill: “We care like family and our therapy and nursing teams are close-knit. Our patients pick up on it during gym or therapy. They see how the team works well together and is in constant communication. The patient will see the same two therapists, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, so the continuity of care is consistent. We have five certified rehab registered nurses, or CRRNs, and two more will test for their certification this month. They are specialists in rehab nursing and they bring the other staff up to their level of expertise.”

How else does your rehab center strive for excellence?

Clement: “We take patients that are significantly more complex than other rehabs; we want to help these people and we have the capabilities to take care of them from a medical perspective. We are on track to see 650 patients this year. Our Post-Acute Service Division invested in technology that helps us as well, such as a smart lift that is attached to the ceiling that supports the weight of the patient or a specialized endoscope that allows us to visualize when a patient has difficulty swallowing. And all of our eligible nurses are certified in rehabilitation and they maintain that certification.”

Sherrill: “Communication — our therapists can write on the communication board in every room so our patients and families know who they are going to see that day and what they are going to do. They know who their doctor is and what the plan will be. We have a spot on the board to learn about their hobbies or what matters to them, if they have three grandkids, etc. Our staff connects with patients on a personal level and we check on them in outpatient care or when they are in home health because we’ve connected with them while they were here. We provide psychology services too — our psychologist meets with every patient to make sure they are coping and understanding their recovery.”

What should others aspiring to work in the post-acute care field know?

Clement: “It all surrounds personalizing the care — not as individual disciplines but as a whole care team. Before treatment sessions and after treatment sessions, we meet as a team to discuss how the last 24 hours went for a patient. We discuss our plan and determine any medical changes that could impact their care.”

Sherrill: “Patient-centered care has to be at the forefront. It also takes more than just treatment of the patient — everyone needs to feel safe and confident to care for the patient when they leave the building. We tell them you can call us if you have any problems at home. We also call within a week of discharge to make sure they received their equipment or they have met with a physician.”

A group of rehabilitation center team members.
Blake Medical Center rehabilitation team: (L to R, front row) Amanda Agines, RN, clinical rehabilitation specialist; Linda Spronatti, OTR/L, therapy supervisor; Paula Douthett, BSN, RN, CRRN, nurse supervisor; Kaitlyn Mears, OTR/L, occupational therapist; Kayli Atkins, recreational therapist; Melissa Romero, BSN, RN, registered nurse; Morgan Billinger, MS CCC-SLP, speech language pathologist; Amelia Courson, RN, clinical nurse coordinator; (L to R, back row) Tyler Weave, OTR/L, occupational therapist; Jessica Harrison, patient care technician; Clement Hakim, PT MBA, program director; Jeanette Bovaird, BSN, RN, registered nurse; Sarah Mucenski, MS, CCC-SLP, clinical rehabilitation specialist

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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