Posted on July 12, 2022

Governor Announces a Health Care First for Michigan Children

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced plans to build the state’s first children’s rehabilitation hospital. Through a joint operating agreement, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are partnering to bring a shared vision to life in the thriving health care landscape of Grand Rapids.

The new hospital will be built on Wealthy Street across from Mary Free Bed’s main campus with a pedestrian walkway connecting the hospitals. The two-story, 67,000 sq. ft. facility will have 24 private inpatient rooms, sophisticated technology fit for children, spacious outpatient treatment areas, spaces for specialized services, indoor and outdoor recreation spots for all ages and a classroom for a certified teacher to help kids keep up with their schoolwork. More than 40 specialized rehabilitation programs will be offered. Estimated construction costs are $60M. In appropriations activity earlier this month, the state allotted $10M for this project.

Watch the Governor’s news conference in the video below:

“This new pediatric rehabilitation facility brings together highly specialized, integrated programs with exceptional physicians and caregivers to help children receive the treatment and therapies they need, when they need it,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, BHSH System. “We are proud of our partnership with Mary Free Bed, built on a foundation of shared values and medical excellence, inspiring all involved.”

Since 2016, the number of kids Mary Free Bed treated across Michigan has increased by 73%. Last year, Mary Free Bed cared for 57% of Michigan’s children who needed inpatient rehabilitation. “We believe there are kids who would greatly benefit from rehabilitation who aren’t receiving it,” said Kent Riddle, President & CEO of Mary Free Bed. “The new hospital is projected to serve 20% more patients by the third year of operation.”

By promptly providing needed rehabilitation, potential complications can be reduced and recoveries enhanced. This will be the ninth free-standing children’s rehabilitation hospital in the United States. Given successful financial support from public sector and private donors, construction will begin in Spring 2023 and is expected to take two years to complete.

See some photos from her tour and visit below: