“We looked around the country, and we looked at the big hospitals and they all had rehab units. The rehab units in the hospitals have great services, but it is only about 3% of their business,” Foster says. “We do free-standing rehabilitation hospitals, and it allows us to focus on rehabilitation outside of the walls of the hospital. You focus on it everyday, and you take it from being 3% to being a shining part of the business.”
Foster says that Centerre aims to do for rehab medicine what others have done for cancer treatment. “(We create) a rehab center of excellence, like a cancer center of excellence,” he says.”
The most important part of creating a “center” of excellence is forming a “partnership” of excellence with the existing hospital, Foster says. To help the company do that, all of Centerre's key staff members have experience working in the kind of medical research hospitals that Centerre does business with. That experience helps Centerre understand the responsibility hospitals have to their community. Centerre's rehabilitation hospitals adopt the charity-care principles of each facility it partners with.
According to Foster, by next year Centerre will double the hospitals it operates. Currently, the company has five rehab centers around the country with four more under construction, a rate of expansion that is actually outstripped by the company's nearly 390% revenue growth over the past five years. “Our success is built on the satisfaction of our existing partners,” Foster says.
One of those rehabilitation hospitals, now under construction in Cleveland, will be “the most technologically advanced” rehabilitation hospital in the country, University Hospitals CEO Thomas Zenty III said in a statement. University Hospitals is one of Centerre's newer partners, and in a statement announcing the partnership, Zenty said the new rehab hospital would ensure “that patients who need intensive physical rehabilitation are receiving the highest quality of care.”
That quality of care is what Foster says he is most concerned about; he says Centerre's passion for rehab leads to “great clinical outcomes” and “superior patient care and satisfaction,” which inevitably makes the hosting hospitals happy.
“We've done what we told our partners we would do,” Foster says.