SOUTH OGDEN -- A hospital chain that once canceled plans to build a facility in Ogden after tough questioning from city council members, has announced its intent to construct a 40-bed unit in South Ogden.
Ernest Health, Inc. announced Friday plans to construct and operate a new inpatient rehabilitation hospital at the corner of Harrison Boulevard and U.S. Highway 89.
The new facility, known as Northern Utah Rehabilitation Hospital, will provide intensive physical rehabilitation services to patients recovering from strokes, head and spinal cord injuries, and other impairments as a result of injury or illness.
"We are excited to be able to bring this level of rehabilitative care to the South Ogden and Northern Utah," said Darby Brockette, CEO of Ernest Health based in Albuquerque. "This means that the citizens here and in the surrounding areas now will have access to the highest level of rehabilitative care available nationally without having to leave the area."
Ernest Health will begin construction on the 52,000-square foot hospital soon, with plans to open in early 2014. The facility will be located in the Cross Pointe Development, and is expected to create about 120 new healthcare-related jobs.
Brockette credits support from local hospital and community leadership as instrumental in the planning and development of the new hospital.
"We welcome Ernest Health to the medical community and look forward to our patients receiving this much-needed, high quality continuum of care," said Mark Adams, CEO of Ogden Regional Medical Center.
South Ogden Mayor James Minster said he was pleased to see such a "worthwhile project" be built at that location. "These much-needed rehab services will be a nice addition to our medical community," he said.
The public is invited to a groundbreaking for the new facility at 1 p.m. May 29.
In January 2006, Ernest Health abruptly canceled its plans to build a rehabilitation hospital in Ogden after the municipality's Redevelopment Agency board, made up of the city council, questioned Brockette about the firm's finances and investors.
Members of the RDA board later apologized, and former Mayor Matthew Godfrey's administration encouraged the company to return to negotiations.
Ernest Health had a $1.5 million agreement to buy property at 20th Street and Grant Avenue by the end of 2008 from the RDA but was unable to secure financing, according to Ogden officials.