Children's Health

Governor Announces a Health Care First for Michigan Children

Photo credit Mary Free Bed

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 12, 2022 — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced plans to build the state’s first children’s rehabilitation hospital. Through a joint operating agreement, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are partnering to bring a shared vision to life in the thriving health care landscape of Grand Rapids.

The new hospital will be built on Wealthy Street across from Mary Free Bed’s main campus with a pedestrian walkway connecting the hospitals. The two-story, 67,000 sq. ft. facility will have 24 private inpatient rooms, sophisticated technology fit for children, spacious outpatient treatment areas, spaces for specialized services, indoor and outdoor recreation spots for all ages and a classroom for a certified teacher to help kids keep up with their schoolwork. More than 40 specialized rehabilitation programs will be offered. Estimated construction costs are $60M. In appropriations activity earlier this month, the state allotted $10M for this project.

“This new pediatric rehabilitation facility brings together highly specialized, integrated programs with exceptional physicians and caregivers to help children receive the treatment and therapies they need, when they need it,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, BHSH System. “We are proud of our partnership with Mary Free Bed, built on a foundation of shared values and medical excellence, inspiring all involved.”

Since 2016, the number of kids Mary Free Bed treated across Michigan has increased by 73%. Last year, Mary Free Bed cared for 57% of Michigan’s children who needed inpatient rehabilitation. “We believe there are kids who would greatly benefit from rehabilitation who aren’t receiving it,” said Kent Riddle, President & CEO of Mary Free Bed. “The new hospital is projected to serve 20% more patients by the third year of operation.”

By promptly providing needed rehabilitation, potential complications can be reduced and recoveries enhanced. This will be the ninth free-standing children’s rehabilitation hospital in the United States. Given successful financial support from public sector and private donors, construction will begin in Spring 2023 and is expected to take two years to complete.


About Mary Free Bed

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, internationally accredited rehabilitation hospital. From a single bed in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1891 to a rehabilitation system with 482 beds across more than three dozen Midwest communities, we’ll restore hope and freedom through rehabilitation for more than 90,000 children and adults this year. In addition to residency programs for clinicians and physicians, we’re the site for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Division of Rehabilitation Medicine. Mary Free Bed conducts primary clinical research and partners with medical and academic institutions across the country. U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek rate Mary Free Bed as a national Best Rehabilitation Hospital for 2021-22. For more information, visit


About BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan

People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our long and continuing legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Our award-winning team improves health, inspires hope and saves lives across 13 counties in West Michigan. We bring together 11 hospitals—including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, with expert care from 350+ pediatric specialists in 70+ specialties and programs—three rehabilitation and nursing centers, 120 outpatient sites and telehealth services. We are proud to work with 4,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, including Spectrum Health Medical Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive multispecialty physician groups in West Michigan.





Chris Mills
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation

Andrea Finnigan
Spectrum Health