Sacred Heart Expands East

FRANKLIN COUNTY- Sacred Heart Hospital is expanding its outpatient rehabilitation services to Franklin County.

The community got a look at the new Sacred Heart Apalachicola Rehabilitation Facility during a grand opening celebration today.

The new center allows patients to stay close to home for their rehab.

Among the beautiful buildings lining historical Apalachicola's Market Street, residents will now find a place that could mean the end to their pain.

"We've decided there is a significant need for rehab-- rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech in Apalachicola," said Joe Santiesteban, Ph.D., PT Rehabilitation Manager.

Sacred Heart Health System already operates Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf in Port St. Joe, 20 miles west of Apalachicola.

Administrators say it only made sense to expand east.

"One of our missions as a provider of healthcare is to improve the coverage, improve the quality of care. And Apalach being removed from most parts of America certainly requires better healthcare," said Dr. Santiesteban.

The new rehab center provides physical therapy now and will expand to include occupational and speech therapy in the near future.

"We're a general clinic, that is, we can see people with back pain, neck pain, post surgical pain or post surgical problems like total hips, total knees."

The clinic also covers sports medicine, orthopedics and neurological care.

Santiesteban is one of two physical therapist currently on staff.

"Oh she has 39 years experience, I have 38 years."

He says their goal is to teach patients how to be their own therapist.

"What we like to do is not only treat the acute situation, the pain, or the loss of motion, loss of function is to teach how to take care of yourself," said Dr. Santiesteban.

The clinic welcomes new referrals and walk-ins.

"In Florida we can see patients for 20 consecutive days without a doctors referral..but we like to work with a physician and get that physician involved in the care of the patient. If they need us we're here."

The new clinic is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8am to 5pm.

To make an appointment call (850) 370-1780