Vibra Healthcare Rehabilitation Hospital

Construction work has begun on a two-story, 50-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital expected to open next year off Highway 178 at a cost of $48 million. As part of the Rio Bravo Medical Campus, it will treat a variety of diagnoses from stroke to wound care.

Construction has begun in northeast Bakersfield on a two-story, 50-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital whose developers see it becoming part of a 46-acre medical-oriented complex along Highway 178 at Morning Drive.

Vibra Healthcare Rehabilitation Hospital, announced Monday, is expected to offer advanced medical treatment for patients suffering from stroke, amputation, spinal cord injury, burns and arthritis, among many other conditions.

The 60,000-square-foot building will join health-care facilities already operating at Rio Bravo Medical Campus, which is planned to later include 16 acres of neighborhood retail space and 17 acres of medium-density housing.

The hospital is being developed, at a cost estimated at $48 million, by a 14-year-old partnership of Bakersfield-area physicians and Fresno health-care developer G.L. Bruno Associates Inc. The building is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2021, bringing about 150 new jobs to the area.

Owned by Alabama-based Medical Properties Trust Inc., the hospital will be leased by Pennsylvania-based Ernest Health and managed by an affiliate of Vibra Healthcare LLC, a Pennsylvania company whose CEO also serves as the top executive at Ernest Health.

The medical campus's first development was the 66,000-square-foot Rio Bravo Cancer & Imaging Center, opened in 2015. Its tenants include Rio Bravo Cancer Center, a full-service imaging center operated by RadNet and the Bakersfield Specialists Surgical Center, which has three operating rooms and three rooms for medical procedures.

Bruno has worked with physicians, hospitals and other health-care players to develop a variety of medical facilities in the western United States.

MPT is a real estate investment trust with 389 facilities and more than 41,000 licensed beds spread across eight countries.

Vibra Healthcare develops, buys and operates specialty acute-care hospitals as well as inpatient and outpatient medical rehabilitation centers in 14 states. Ernest Health has provided specialized rehabilitative services since 2005.

"We are very excited to be an integral part of the Bakersfield medical community," Brad Hollinger, Vibra's and Ernest's CEO, said in a news release. "Our medical rehabilitation hospital will serve the unmet rehabilitation needs of the community through pioneering medical programs and a cutting-edge facility."

Follow John Cox on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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