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Covenant Health, Encompass Health host grand opening celebrations for two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in Knoxville

February 15, 2023

Joint venture includes new 51-bed freestanding rehabilitation hospital and renovation of downtown location

Today, Covenant Health and Encompass Health hosted a grand opening celebration for two joint venture locations in Knoxville, including a new 51-bed freestanding inpatient rehabilitation hospital and renovation of the existing rehabilitation facility at Covenant Health’s Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center near downtown Knoxville. The freestanding hospital, Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Hospital West, is located at 101 Fort Sanders West Blvd. and will begin caring for patients in early March. As part of the joint venture project, the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center at Fort Sanders Regional underwent renovation to become a 22-bed hospital-in-hospital structure, including converting all semi-private rooms to private rooms. It has been renamed Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Hospital Fort Sanders.

A line of people hold scissors to cut a blue ribbon to designate the opening of Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Hospital West.

From left: Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center volunteer chaplain Dan Martin; Covenant Health President and CEO Jim VanderSteeg; Encompass Health’s Mid-Atlantic Region President Abe Sims; Knox County Community Engagement Director Jane Jolley; City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon; Knox County Commissioner and former Patricia Neal patient Larsen Jay; and Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Hospital CEO Jennifer Steely.

“We are excited to celebrate the opening of this state-of-the-art hospital and renovated location at Fort Sanders, both of which will help patients recover from their injury or illness and find the confidence to move back to a more independent life,” said Jennifer Steely, CEO of both Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Hospital locations. “The addition of this new freestanding hospital will allow even more individuals in the Knoxville area and beyond to receive specialized care, close to home. Every detail of this hospital was created with our patients in mind – the one-story building design helps with accessibility of getting patients to different treatment and non-treatment areas within the hospital, and our freestanding hospital allows for easier transfers from other facilities and more convenient access for families and visitors.”

Both specialized hospital locations will provide care for individuals in Knoxville and the surrounding communities through comprehensive physical rehabilitation services. The hospital team at both locations will provide inpatient rehabilitation services and higher medical management for patients recovering from stroke and other neurological disorders, hip fractures, brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation and complex orthopedic conditions. Patients will receive a minimum of three hours per day of therapy for five days each week, 24-hour nursing care, access to advanced technologies and frequent visits by a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician during their stay.

“Covenant Health’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our region through better health, and we strive to make Covenant Health the first and best choice for those we serve. One way we are accomplishing our mission is through the specialized services of the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Hospital, at both the new hospital in West Knoxville and the renovated facility at Fort Sanders Regional,” said Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health president and CEO.

The hospitals continue to carry the name of Patricia Neal, an Oscar-winning actor and Knoxville native who successfully resumed her acting career after surviving and recovering from three devastating strokes.

“Since its opening in 1978, the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center has served and inspired thousands of patients, and received awards and recognition for providing expert, compassionate care. Encompass Health is the ideal partner to continue that legacy through the opening of these two outstanding facilities and the excellent care teams at both locations,” VanderSteeg said.

“When we started looking into new areas where there was a need for high-quality, hospital-based rehabilitation services, this location in Knoxville stood out. With a growing population, a robust healthcare network, and high demand for inpatient rehabilitation, this hospital was a perfect addition to this community,” said Abe Sims, President of Encompass Health’s MidAtlantic Region. “We are excited about our joint venture partnership with Covenant Health at both Knoxville locations, as the vision for these hospitals and this joint venture have been years in the making. The care provided by staff will extend well beyond the walls of the hospital and make a difference in the lives of many individuals in the local community and surrounding area.”

The grand opening celebrations included hospital tours, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and presentations. Remarks were delivered by Covenant Health and Encompass Health leaders, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, Knox County Community Engagement Director Jane Jolley (representing Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs), and Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay.

For more information about the hospital’s services, please visit

About Covenant Health
Covenant Health is an award-winning Tennessee healthcare delivery system serving 23 counties and committed to providing excellent care for our 2 million+ patient encounters each year. We fulfill our mission to improve the quality of life in our region through comprehensive services at nearly 150 locations, including 10 hospitals; outpatient clinics; specialized behavioral, oncology and rehabilitation facilities; home care; physician practices, and community programs. With more than 10,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has been recognized by Forbes as a Best Employer seven times. Learn more at

About Encompass Health
Encompass Health (NYSE: EHC) is the largest owner and operator of rehabilitation hospitals in the United States. With a national footprint that includes 153 hospitals in 36 states and Puerto Rico, the Company provides high-quality, compassionate rehabilitative care for patients recovering from a major injury or illness, using advanced technology and innovative treatments to maximize recovery. Encompass Health is ranked as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare. For more information, visit, or follow us on our newsroom, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.