Bowling Green’s Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital has moved a step closer to an expansion that will add more than a dozen beds to the facility at 1300 Campbell Lane.

The City-County Planning Commission of Warren County on Jan. 7 approved a rezoning that could allow the rehab hospital to add 8,000 square feet and 15 beds.

The rezoning of 15.36 acres from general business and multi-family residential to highway business will go to the Bowling Green City Commission for final approval.

SKY Rehab’s expansion plans were approved last summer by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which granted a certificate of need to allow the rehab hospital to add 8,000 square feet to a facility that is now 65,761 square feet.

Total cost of the expansion is estimated at $3.4 million, according to records on file with the CHFS.

The extra space would be added as a new wing at the rear of the current rehab hospital, which the CHFS application indicates was designed for such an expansion.

Planning commission documents said SKY Rehab will add 15 beds and relocate the ambulatory services drop-off area from the front of the building to the rear, where the expansion will be built.

The original application made to the CHFS said SKY Rehab plans to add 16 beds to its current total of 60 as a strategy for addressing the growing demand for its physical therapy and rehabilitation services.

“The bed need has been determined by the current delays in patient access to inpatient rehabilitation services provided by SKY,” the hospital’s leaders said in the CON application. “While the past 12 months’ average occupancy at SKY has been 89%, SKY has experienced 100% occupancy at times, thus delaying patient access.”

SKY Rehab officials indicate in the application that the extra beds would allow the hospital to respond to an occupancy rate that has been growing steadily and jumped from 80% in the 2018 calendar year to 89% in 2019.

The application said an increase of only two patients in SKY Rehab’s average daily census would be sufficient to break even by covering the additional expenses, but it forecasts a much greater increase.

For the 16 proposed beds, the occupancy rate is anticipated to be 65% to 70% during the first two years of operation.

The proposed addition would allow SKY Rehab to add staff, including two physical therapists, two occupational therapists and five nurses, according to the CON application.

Having the extra beds could also benefit Bowling Green’s acute-care hospitals, the application said. The expansion “will allow improved access for individuals with acute inpatient rehabilitation needs. It will allow for expedited patient discharge from acute care hospitals ... due to the increased availability of rehabilitation beds.”

SKY Rehab, which has been operating in Bowling Green since 1992, is a subsidiary of Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Vibra Healthcare, which has 65 health care facilities across 19 states.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

​– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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