The closed-down complex is under contract for $13 million

A Pennsylvania-based health care company is under contract to buy Physicians' Hospital in Portland's Gateway District.

Vibra Healthcare LLC plans to buy the shuttered complex, 10300 N.E. Hancock St., for $13 million and spend about $4 million to transform it into the first long-term acute care hospital in the state. The company has been expressing interest in buying the property since May.

The deal is expected to close by Aug. 1.

Long-term acute care hospitals provide intensive, rehabilitative care to patients with complex and often life-threatening illnesses. Most of their patients are Medicare subscribers who stay for more than 25 days, said Don Yoder, Vibra Healthcare's chief development officer.

The hospitals "are for patients that need additional care at that level for them to have more time to recover and to return to productive life," he said.

Before it opens, the new facility must be re-licensed and demonstrate to regulators that it serves a long-term acute population, a process that takes at least six months, Yoder said. The company estimates the new hospital - not yet named - will open in January or February 2007 with 39 beds.

The facility could eventually accommodate as many as 80 beds and employ about 200 people, according to the company.

Gwen Dayton, executive vice president and general counsel with the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, confirmed that Vibra is first out of the gate in Oregon with a long-term acute care hospital. But she said more are on the way.

"I think they see, in Oregon, a market that has not yet been tapped," she said.

Physicians Hospital, formerly Woodland Park Hospital, opened in 2004 and went out of business in May.

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