Select Medical Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Acuity Healthcare; Enters Joint Venture Partnerships with AtlantiCare, Mon Health, Virtua Health and Physician Partners

Deal to Add Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals to Company’s National Post-Acute Network

MECHANICSBURG, PA, June 21, 2021 – Select Medical today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Charlotte, NC-based Acuity Healthcare.  The purchase will include four long-term acute care hospitals and one satellite serving communities in New Jersey and West Virginia.  The deal also includes the establishment of four joint venture (JV) partnerships with AtlantiCare, Mon Health, Virtua Health and  physician partners.

“This agreement represents Select Medical’s continued focus to execute strategic joint ventures as part of its growth strategy,” said Tom Mullin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of specialty hospitals at Select Medical.  “Together, with our new partners, we look forward to serving the specialty care needs of chronic, critically ill patients in these emergent regions.”

Through the agreement, Select Medical’s national network of critical illness recovery hospitals, licensed as long-term acute care, will expand to 104 locations.  The Acuity hospitals to be acquired will be renamed Select Specialty Hospital and remain in current New Jersey and West Virginia locations.

  • Select Specialty Hospital – Willingboro, NJ – Virtua Health JV partner
  • Select Specialty Hospital – Atlantic City, NJ – AtlantiCare JV partner
  • Select Specialty Hospital – Morgantown, WV – Mon Health JV partner
  • Select Specialty Hospital – Weirton, WV – Physician JV partners
  • Select Specialty Hospital – Wheeling, WV (Satellite Location) – Physician JV partners

“The joint venture partnership with Select Medical brings the clinical excellence and best practices of the nation’s No. 1 post-acute care provider to the regions we currently serve,” said Ed Cooper, president and chief executive officer at Acuity Healthcare. Select Medical shares our common mission to build healthy communities and improve quality of life for the patients and families they serve. As the aging population continues to grow, the need for continued long-term acute care to treat chronic, critically ill patients has become an essential service and they are well-positioned to handle the future changes facing healthcare and the post-acute industry.”

The deal is expected to close in Q3 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

About Acuity Healthcare

Acuity Healthcare is an employee-owned (ESOP) long-term acute care hospital company (LTACH) founded in 2001 with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Acuity Healthcare currently owns and manages four LTACHs with five locations in New Jersey and West Virginia. Acuity is focused on the development and operation of LTACHs and the delivery of specialized care with improved outcomes. We offer quality care in a cost-effective manner to medically complex patients who require intensive hospital services for an extended length of stay. To learn more about Acuity Healthcare, please visit us at www.AcuityHealthcare.net.

About Select Medical

Select Medical is one of the largest operators of critical illness recovery hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation clinics and occupational health centers in the United States. As of March 31, 2021, Select Medical operated 99 critical illness recovery hospitals in 28 states, 30 rehabilitation hospitals in 12 states, and 1,809 outpatient rehabilitation clinics in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Select Medical’s joint venture subsidiary Concentra operated 519 occupational health centers in 41 states. At March 31, 2021, Select Medical had combined operations in 46 states and the District of Columbia and employed more than 48,000 people.  For more information, visit www.selectmedical.com.

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Media Contacts

For Select Medical: Shelly Eckenroth, 717-920-4035 or seckenroth@selectmedical.com

For Acuity Healthcare:  Lisa Bien, 609-464-0914, lbien@acuityhealthcare.net




  • Two recent articles highlight the important role Long Term Acute Care Hospitals [LTACHs] play in the continuum of care and confirm what Acuity Specialty Hospitals have believed all along: In appropriate patients, the early placement of tracheostomies, along with early transfer from intensive care to the LTACH increases the likelihood that patients will successfully wean from the ventilator.
  • A meta-analysis published March 11, 2021 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery concluded that performing a tracheostomy within the first seven days of the start of mechanical ventilation decreases the time patients spend on ventilators, shortens their ICU stay and lowers their risk of ventilator associated pneumonia.1
  • A study published March 24, 2021 in BMC Pulmonary Medicine demonstrated that earlier access to LTACH care is associated with higher weaning probability for LTACH patients, suggesting patients may benefit from earlier discharge to LTACH. The study’s authors concluded that LTACHs benefit patients by providing care specifically dedicated to ventilator weaning in an interdisciplinary team, rehabilitation-focused care model.2
  • Having a tracheostomy in place is not necessary for a patient to be transferred to the LTACH setting; LTACHs can and do convert endotracheal tubes to tracheostomies. Tracheostomies are beneficial when the focus turns from initial stabilization and treatment to liberating patients from mechanical ventilation, as tracheostomies are more comfortable for patients and allow more effective weaning from sedation.
  • In addition to benefitting patients, LTACHs offer benefits to the healthcare system as a whole by relieving pressure on hospital intensive care units, reducing over-crowding which may improve outcomes.2
  • Collaboration between LTCHs and STACs is essential for the care of patients who are difficult to liberate from mechanical ventilation. These patients need specialty care, and Acuity Specialty Hospitals are designed to meet that need.


  1. Chorath, K., et al. (2021) Association of Early vs Late Tracheostomy Placement With Pneumonia and Ventilator Days in Critically Ill Patients. A Metaanalysis. JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery. org/10.1001/jamaoto.2021.0025
  2. Demiralp, B., Koenig, L., Xu, J. et al. (2021) Time Spent in Prior Hospital Stay and Outcomes for Ventilator Patients in Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals. BMC Pulm Med 21, 104. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12890-021-01454-1



Recovery begins at Acuity for sidelined Mummer, fire police officer

Greg Discher is a step closer to going home, thanks to the standard-setting medical care he received at Acuity Specialty Hospital of Southern New Jersey.

Discher was ventilator-dependent when he arrived at Acuity in early November, 2020. He was breathing on his own with the help of a tracheostomy collar at the time of his release on Jan. 20, 2021 – a monumental day for Discher and his wife, Diane Wall, along with many newfound friends at Acuity.

Today, Discher is among the latest patients who have been successfully treated at Acuity, where patient clinical outcomes are among the best in the nation for ventilator weaning.  According to Wall, her husband remains breathing on his own with the aid of the most minimum size trach as he continues his recovery away from home in an acute rehabilitation setting.

“Greg is doing wonderfully,” says Wall. “Without Acuity, I do not believe Greg would be where he is now…I believe Acuity saved my husband’s life.”

According to Wall, it was back in early August, 2020, that Discher was diagnosed with a kidney stone, a common but painful condition that he’d experienced before. Only this time, the size of the stone required doctors to insert a ureteral stent to aid in its passing. But by late August, Discher’s health deteriorated as he had developed blood clots and septic shock. He was too weak to even undergo a procedure to remove the stent, she recalls.

By early October, Discher was transferred to his first rehabilitation facility, embarking on round one of his road to recovery. After three weeks of intensive therapy, he was released. Unfortunately, on his third day at home, Discher suffered a catastrophic fall, snapping his neck and damaging his cerebral cortex, which required emergency spinal fusion surgery and another lengthy hospital stay.

Discher arrived at Acuity on Nov. 4, 2020.

In addition to being ventilator-dependent, he could not talk, move his hands or lift his legs, and his once strong, healthy frame was reduced to “a puddle of skin” due to significant weight loss, recalls Wall.

At Acuity, Discher’s days were spent building his strength in physical therapy, trialing a speaking valve because he desperately wanted to talk to his wife, and learning how to stay calm throughout the process of decreasing his degree of ventilator support. Discher also underwent procedures to insert a feeding tube, and to remove the stent.

“Never once did he complain, or say, ‘Why me?’ In fact, he’d say, ‘Why not me?” says Wall, noting Discher is a 10-year survivor of esophageal cancer.

Theirs is a story of friendship-turned- mad crush-turned- true love that spans three decades, and when they married on June 5, 2013, “We knew it was death do us part,” says Wall.

Being separated throughout Discher’s recent multiple hospitalizations has been hard on the couple, and COVID-19 visitation bans made it even harder, but they prevailed with some wifely ingenuity and support from friends both in and out of the hospital.

Wall describes her husband’s team of caretakers at Acuity as second to none.

Not one even batted an eye when Discher brought along a flashlight, which he’d kept with him since his spinal surgery, as sort of his own private “SOS” alarm, she says.  In fact, because her husband had use of his feet, one of the night nurses would always make certain to position the flashlight close to his toes, knowing it gave Discher comfort even if he couldn’t actually use it.

By the end of Discher’s stay at Acuity, the couple was on a first-name basis with many of the staff, like nurse Ron, and respiratory therapists including Diane, Amy, Asia, Rachel, Amer, Kenya, Jenn, Abdou, Thomas, Larry, Walt, Donna, Carlos and Linda.

“Acuity was a miracle for him,” says Wall, who captured cherished images of Discher’s release from the facility in photographs she shared on Facebook.

In one of the photos, nurse Ron is saying goodbye to Discher. Though patient and nurse are masked, the emotion of the moment is obvious in the way their eyes are fixed on one another.

Throughout the facility, Discher was known as “a very kind man who was appreciative” of everything and everyone, recalls Valerie McCann, director of respiratory care.

“He did remarkably well,” Wall says of her husband’s time at Acuity. “Their job was to wean him off the vent and they did. He left with a trach collar.

“He looked so good when he left,” she says, almost gushing. “I cannot thank them enough.”

Discher is no stranger to helping others. He’s a former longtime volunteer with the Deer Park Fire Department, and he was an active fire police officer before he became ill.

Discher, who at last report has been getting stronger with every passing day, is eager to return home. He plans to make up for some lost cuddle time with the family dog, a mutt named Stevie; help organize a family reunion in August; and at some point, visit the couple’s favorite place on earth: Disney World. For now, this longtime member of the Philly Vikings Fancy Brigade is focused on regaining full use of his arms and legs – and reclaiming his celebrated Mummer’s strut.


Reminders for a Healthy Lifestyle During the Pandemic!

We are coming up on a year of living through a pandemic. Covid-19 has changed our lives and we can all use some reminders and tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

We are a few days away from the start of Super Bowl LV, and yes, it’s another event that has changed. The game has not changed. Football continues to be the most popular sport in the United States.

The yummy selection of food has not changed. What has changed is the level of risk involved with gathering with friends.

This Super Bowl weekend, we want to remind all of you of some best practices for a healthy lifestyle for you and your family!

  • Stay active: The gyms may not be open, however, there are lots of safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the CDC like social distancing and avoiding large crowds. Aerobics can be done successfully at home. Another important point to consider is that avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe.  Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym.
  • Adequate sleep: Good sleep is essential to our overall health. While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 years get seven or more hours of sleep per night.
  • Diet and nutrition: Practicing self-discipline and avoiding “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the drastic changes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects our lives is imperative. According to the CDC, whole foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals. Make it a habit to try to eat more whole nutritious foods instead of processed snacks or fast food.
  • Self-care: Take time to take care of yourself. Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family, personal care of yourself promotes overall wellness.
  • Cope with stress and anxiety: Positively cope with stress and anxiety induced by new precautions we must all now take to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Positive coping mechanisms would include exercise, meditation, reading, further developing certain skills or hobbies etc. Use this era to increase your daily repetition of these positive activities and develop new or even better routines than you may have adhered to prior to the emergence of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Stay connected: Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to utilize the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love. Our busy lives before the COVID-19 may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones, now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie.

Top Tips to Stay Connected with Your Loved One During Their Hospital Stay

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to protect you, your loved one, hospital staff, and the public, you will not be able to visit your loved one in the hospital. We want to make sure you stay connected and engaged during this time with a loved one in our care.

Things You Can Do:

Discuss– Who will be the primary contact for the family. We can only share information with family members with the patient’s permission. We know there are many people who care about your loved one. Please choose one person who will talk to the hospital team during their stay.

Plan: How you and your loved one will stay in touch while you are apart. You can use their bedside phone number that the hospital will provide. If your loved one has a smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer, you may leave it with them. Make sure the device is labeled and charged. We can connect them to our internet to keep in touch via video chat.

Things You Can Do for Your Loved One and Yourself During the Hospital Stay:

  • Keep a Journal
  • Write down the team members to keep things clear for you and your family.
  • Write down your questions for the team so you can ask them all at once.
  • If you choose, write down your thoughts and feelings to share with your loved one.
  • Do not send flowers or food. We may not be able to deliver cards and other items during this time.
  • Many faith leaders and community organizations are able to connect to you by phone.

Things to Note When Your Loved One Is Admitted to the Hospital:

  • Nurse name and phone number to the nurse’s desk.
  • Your loved one’s bedside phone number.
  • Hospital team names, emails and phone numbers.



5 Tips To Boost Your Mood Throughout the Day

Everyone has bad days. Maybe you had a rushed morning, spilled your coffee, and the dog got into the trash can again. Or, you may find yourself in a bit of a rut and are in need of a pick-me-up. Whatever it is, there are many different exercises and tools you can do to get a boost. We’ve gathered a few of our favorites and created a helpful guide to keep you going all day long.

Take a minute for mindfulness

There is no such thing as “not enough time” for a quick mindfulness session. It need not be a big production–it takes only moments to re-center and check in with yourself. This can help unite the mind and body to relieve stress-inducing thoughts. Mindfulness is simply to be aware or conscious of yourself in the present, physical moment.

Find a quiet place to sit alone wherever you are. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Try counting your breaths to give your mind a task. Then, start paying attention to the different sensations in your body. Take note of the weight of yourself sitting in a chair, or your clothes against your skin. Continue this for as long as you need, and just keep breathing slow, deep breaths.

Go outside

Sometimes spending too much time in the same place can make you a little stir-crazy. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park. Walking, like other forms of exercise, helps release endorphins and dopamine, which are responsible for regulating your mood.

Going out when it’s sunny can be even more beneficial. This is because vitamin D has proven to improve symptoms of depression in patients. So take a seat somewhere or lay out and soak up the sun.

Put on your favorite playlist

Listening to uplifting music or your favorite playlist can also help release dopamine in the brain. When listening to music, different parts of the brain light up as our ears register the changing sounds. This can result in our heartbeat matching the music and even our moods mimicking the mood of the song.

Phone a friend

Some days, you may just need to talk it out and vent to a close friend or family member. Holding in emotions and frustrations can often leave you restless and acts as a poor coping mechanism. You can meet up for coffee or lunch and talk over your favorite food or snack. Or, if pressed for time or the need to distance, a good friend is always a phone call away.

Have a laugh

Laughing is a great way to get a quick pick-me-up throughout the day. Try watching a funny video clip or a quick skit from your favorite comedian. A laugh is good for breaking through a mental fog with a quick blast of dopamine. If you can’t manage a laugh, a smile is a great start, too.

From the Acuity Family, we take pride in offering our patients and community various tools to help their physical and mental wellness. If you find these tips just aren’t doing the trick, don’t be discouraged. Everybody is different. Consider seeking the support of a professional if your mood is severely impacting your ability to function and enjoy your day-to-day life.


How a Levittown man survived a 154-day near death battle with COVID-19 complications

On a windy Friday in early April, the 73-year-old Bristol Township man took a walk around the lake at Falls Township Community Park to see if he could finish the nearly 4-mile loop.

Crozier had undergone a hip replacement in February. He was still weak, but doctors encouraged him to keep moving as part of his recovery.

Not that Crozier is one for standing still. Click here to read the full story


Tips for Keeping Morale High During a Long Recovery

Recovering from illness or injury can sometimes be a long process— one that is often stressful mentally, emotionally, and physically. This can make it difficult to get through recovery and, in some cases, may prolong it. This is because stress can interrupt the body’s ability to perform various functions. We’ve created this guide with useful tips to keep morale high during a long recovery.

Get some rest

It may sound cliché, but getting enough rest during recovery is essential. This doesn’t just mean getting enough sleep or staying off your feet. To get a recuperative, healing rest, you need to calm your mind too. When sleeping, your body is able to better heal and repair itself. If you add stress into the mix, this can be interrupted.

Try incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine. This could be taking breaks for mindfulness or meditation, spending time outside, or listening to relaxing music. You may even have your own unique practices that help relax you.

Eat a healthy diet

They say “Happiness is a full belly.” Well, they may be right. Eating a healthy diet is essential to recovery because it provides your body with nutrients needed for healing. However, good nutrition is also important for stress management. About 90% of the body’s serotonin is actually found in the gut, not the brain. Ever been “hangry?” This might be why.

Try eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet that includes lean meats and produce. Many of the nutrients found in food are needed for bodily repair. Some even aid the body in absorbing and using other nutrients. For example, your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. We recommend consulting your doctor before starting a nutrition plan or diet.

Talk about it

Sometimes, you just have to let it all out. Recovery is stressful, but you don’t ever have to do it alone. Whether it’s family, your nurses, or your doctors, they all care about your health. If you have concerns, reach out and become more proactive in your recovery. Sometimes, stress during recovery can be caused by feeling a lack of control. Take back control by actively attending and coordinating meetings with your care team and following a recovery plan.

You can also try creating goals for your recovery to help motivate you. Humans, by nature, are task oriented. During recovery, you may not be able to work or engage in your typical responsibilities or routines. Think of your health and recovery as your new job or responsibility. If you find your mental and emotional health is suffering, we encourage you to contact your doctor or speak to a mental health professional.

At Acuity, our goal is to provide exceptional treatments and reliable information for our patients and surrounding communities. We encourage you to speak with your doctor if you find your symptoms or conditions worsening. From the Acuity Family, we wish you good health and a speedy recovery.


Understanding and Treating Hospital Induced Stress

It’s normal to experience stress or anxiety before a procedure, when recovering, or while in the hospital for treatment. Whether you are expecting short or long-term care, it’s important to reduce stress as much as possible. Higher stress levels can cause or worsen uncomfortable symptoms. In this guide, we will discuss a few methods to help you maintain low stress levels when in the hospital.

Learn More about Stress

The first thing you can do is learn more about stress, anxiety, and how they affect your body and mind. Stress and anxiety are fight-or-flight responses that protect you from danger. People can experience an increase in heart rate or blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, sharper senses, and more. These symptoms are different for everyone, so it’s important to observe the symptoms you experience and what they say about you.

Learning about stress gives you the power to better manage or control your symptoms. It’s important to remember that your doctors and nurses are there to help you get better. Stress is telling your body to be afraid, but your mind has the power to overcome that.

Create a Familiar Atmosphere

Being in the hospital for extended periods can make people feel homesick and restless. Try surrounding yourself with objects from home that bring you comfort. This could be a stuffed animal, a photo, or a sentimental object. Playing music or your favorite movie can help you create a more familiar atmosphere.

You can also bring more familiarity into your space by spending some virtual time with loved ones. Make time to chat with friends and family whether you’re at home or in the hospital. Discussing your concerns with them can offer you emotional relief. Or, you can talk about something else to help take your mind off it for a while.

Keep Yourself Busy

Stress has a way of trapping us in our own thoughts. It’s easy to get wrapped up in an internal dialogue filled with worries and concerns. Whether you’re home or in the hospital, try engaging in activities to distract from your hospital-related fears. This could be reading a book, watching a movie, or mindfully listening to music.

You can also try exercises to help relieve stress and anxiety. This could be practicing mindfulness, meditating, or trying breathing exercises. Don’t feel discouraged if some of these methods don’t work for you–try different things out until you find a routine that brings you a sense of calm. Relaxation exercises can take time to become familiar and routine.  Remember to be patient with yourself.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have any fears or concerns about your treatment, procedure, or recovery, we encourage you to contact your doctor. Sometimes, unanswered questions about your health and current condition can further exacerbate stress and anxiety. Your care team can help clear up these questions and offer you alternatives and extra measures to make your experience more comfortable.

Your doctor and nurses may also provide some extra assistance to help your anxiety or discomfort. This could be a meeting with a therapist or psychologist, or prescribing a short-term medication to help relax you right before your procedure.

From the Acuity Family, we know how stressful hospital treatments, procedures, and recoveries can be. We pride ourselves on providing our patients and communities with reliable resources to help guide them through experiences in the hospital. If you experience a worsening of symptoms, we encourage you to contact your doctor. We wish you good health before, during, and after your hospital stay.


Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown Awarded Accreditation from the Joint Commission

Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown Awarded Accreditation from the Joint Commission

Morgantown, West Virginia – Acuity Specialty Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review on January 21, 2020. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with hospital standards spanning several areas including emergency management, environment of care, provision of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, medication management, and rights and responsibilities of the individual.

The Joint Commission’s standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help health care organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”

“We have assembled a dynamic team that is committed to providing the best healthcare in the community,” said Frank Weber, Chief Executive Officer of Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown. “We look forward to working with our partners to advance the healthcare continuum in the region.”

For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.

Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown (ASHM) is a 25-bed Long Term Acute Care (LTACH) hospital providing acute care to critically ill and medically complex patients. The hospital is specifically designed and staffed to provide intensive care to patients who are either on a ventilator, trauma or have other medically complex conditions such as extensive non-healing wounds, infections, multi-system failures or complications from surgery. Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown operates within Mon Health Medical Center Campus, on the newly renovated 4th floor. For more information, please visit their website at www.AcuityHealthcare.net.


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