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Lovelace, UNM open joint rehab hospital

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lovelace Health System and the UNM Medical Group on Wednesday marked the opening of the newly renamed LovelaceUNM Rehabilitation Hospital, a joint venture that will include sharing patients, doctors and financial resources.

The newly formed corporation running the hospital springs from a for-profit entity — Lovelace — and a publicly-supported institution — the University of New Mexico Health System, which is the clinical arm of the UNM Health Sciences Center.

“To bring this to fruition is a remarkable achievement,” said Ron Stern, Lovelace president and CEO. “It’s a bold step forward in the healthcare landscape and one of the highlights of my career,” he said to several hundred attendees.

Paul Roth, chancellor of the UNM Health Sciences Center and dean of the School of Medicine, called the partnership “a joint venture trifecta,” referring to the leaders running the facility, the academic component and the number of providers sharing expertise to help a wide range of patients with procedures and treatments.

LovelaceUNM Rehabilitation Hospital, with 250 employees, is a 62-bed rehab facility providing inpatient care for patients suffering from brain injuries, stroke, orthopedic disorders and major multiple trauma.  It is also equipped with physiotherapy and occupational therapy gyms.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation is a growing market as baby boomers and the elderly access operations on backs, knees and hips and therapies in growing numbers.

Under the new agreement, both entities make contributions to run the hospital, including equipment purchases, and share revenues from patients, said Dr. Michael Richards, executive physician-in-chief for the UNM Health Sciences Center.

He said serving more patients and the ability to offer faculty appointments at UNM will make the joint venture more attractive to physicians and research, bringing more innovation.

As part of the deal, the UNM School of Medicine will also open a new residency program in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which help build the provider workforce.  Some UNM occupational therapy and physical therapy students already train at the hospital.