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Hospital, YMCA reach agreement over physical therapy facilities

The Alexandria Area YMCA and Douglas County Hospital have signed a "letter of intent" that will forge a long-term relationship between one of the leading non-profits in the community and Douglas County Hospital.

The YMCA is in the midst of an $8,885,000 capital campaign to construct a 56,000-square-foot facility that will include a child care center, gymnasium, aquatic center, health and wellness center, walking/jogging track, aerobic studio, men's and women's locker rooms, special needs locker rooms, nursery, social lounge, outdoor field space and more.

To date, the YMCA has raised more than $6.5 million toward the goal.

YMCAs and hospitals have been developing partnerships across the country, according to local YMCA leaders.

The increasing focus on health and wellness, the positive environment the YMCA provides and the utilization of state-of-the-art YMCA facilities and program areas by hospital staff/clients/patients are all key factors that make relationships like this possible, according to YMCA leaders.

The agreement will provide Douglas County Hospital with an 800-square-foot physical therapy/rehab center that will be staffed by licensed physical therapists from Douglas County Hospital.

The therapy/rehab center will provide physical therapists with the opportunity to meet privately with clients and patients as well as utilize the cardiovascular/strength and conditioning equipment in the YMCA's state-of-the-art health and wellness center.

In addition, the YMCA Aquatic Center will provide water therapy/rehab programming that has been difficult to provide in the past.

A monthly rental fee has been agreed upon in exchange for the physical space and access to YMCA program areas.

Partnerships between YMCA and local hospitals have become much more prevalent in recent years, according to the YMCA.

For local hospitals, it provides them with the opportunity to utilize state of the art facilities/program areas without the outlay of capital dollars for construction and duplication of facilities. It also provides the hospital with a positive environment that is not associated with sickness/illness.

For the YMCA, it is common for clients/patients to continue as YMCA members after insurance has completed their obligation for services to its clients due to their comfort level with the YMCA and familiarity with YMCA facilities and equipment.

"We could not be more pleased to have forged this relationship with Douglas County Hospital, said YMCA Executive Director Jeff Bartholomew. "This is truly a win-win situation for the YMCA, Douglas County Hospital as well as area residents."

"We are excited about the opportunities that this relationship will provide the staff/clients/patients of Douglas County Hospital" said YMCA board chair Eric Rice. "We hope that this will be the first of many partnerships/collaborations with area organizations/agencies. We want our facilities and program areas to be looked upon as a resource for everyone in our community."

According to Bill Flaig, hospital administrator, "Douglas County Hospital is very fortunate to be able to work with the new Alexandria Area YMCA to provide a state-of-the-art water therapy/rehab program. The new pool planned for the YMCA will provide warm-therapy pool alternative that is currently not available in our community. This truly is a great example of how together local agencies like ours can provide a much needed service that would not be possible without cooperation."