GALENA, Kan. — An Oklahoma business plans to build a $14 million nursing home and rehabilitation center in Galena's medical complex that could employ up to 100 people at wages of $10 to $30 an hour.
Scott Pilgrim, the owner of the Diakonos Group, said the 55,000-square-foot facility will separate residents in the nursing home part of the building from residents at the rehab part of the building who are there for short stays to recuperate from surgery. The building, on 5 1/2 acres his company bought for $1.15 million, will be called the Route 66 Medical Resort. It will be near Galena's hospital on West Seventh Street near the Kansas-Missouri border.
"We think there's a significant market for this," Pilgrim said. He said the center concentrates on the short-term stay.
"If you're 67 years old and need some rehab, you do not want to hear, 'We're going to send you to a nursing home.'"
Pilgrim said he expects the rehab part of the business will get some patients from Galena's 36-bed hospital, Premier Surgical Institute. He said each section will have 30 to 40 beds.
"We'll be doing a continuation of their work," Pilgrim said.
Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby said he's excited about the new business. City officials haven't yet received any blueprints or detailed information about the project.
"I think it will be absolutely awesome," Oglesby said. "Job creation. I think it will be a great addition to the medical complex there."
Medicare typically pays for short stints of rehab. The cost for stays of 21 to 100 days is set at $140 a day under guidelines for Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly.
Pilgrim said he expects the nursing home beds will start at $200 a day in the private rooms.
Pilgrim said he expect that patients in the Galena rehab center will receive one to 12 hours of therapy a week depending on their needs.
Pilgrim and his wife, Lee, already own 19 centers in Oklahoma and Texas, through the Diakonos Group. The word means servant in Greek.
"It's a reminder to us privately that that's what we're here for, to serve others," Pilgrim said.
The nearest centers Diakonos has are in Vinita, Okla. where the company has an assisted living center and a nursing home.
Pilgrim said he hopes to break ground for the rehab center in the spring. He said he doesn't have a contractor yet and that the facility is still being designed.
In Missouri, new health rehab centers typically have to go through an approval process that include showing there is a need for the proposed business. Kansas has a less-stringent approval process.
Pilgrim declined to share market studies showing the projected demand for the beds at the proposed business but said he's confident there's a need, especially since his business will strictly separate the nursing home and rehab parts of the business.
"If you're a younger person and need that rehab, you're not going to want to go to a typical nursing home," Pilgrim said.