Wynona Evans, a double amputee with congestive heart failure, has relied on a drive-in scale at a local rehab center to help her closely monitor her weight, but with the closure of that facility on Friday, she’s not sure what’s she going to do.

Wynona Evans, a double amputee with congestive heart failure, has relied on a drive-in scale at a local rehab center to help her closely monitor her weight, but with the closure of that facility on Friday, she’s not sure what’s she going to do.

St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital officials have confirmed the 12-bed Center for Rehabilitation, located on the third floor of the south campus at 1900 Gordon Cooper Drive, the former Mission Hill site, was being shut down on Friday.

Carla Tollett, marketing director for St. Anthony Shawnee, said the center’s remaining patients had met their plan of care needs and were being discharged Friday. No other patients are being admitted.

The hospital’s decision to close the unit was driven by a set of circumstances, most of which are outside the control of the hospital, Tollett said, making it unfeasible to maintain the center in the community.

“The closing of the Center for Rehabilitation does not in any way diminish the desire and goal of St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital and physicians to provide exceptional patient care in our community,” said Chuck Skillings, president of St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital.

Tollett said the hospital’s human resources department has been working with the 23 members on the rehab staff to find opportunities within their job categories at St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital or within the St. Anthony network. At last check, 18 of the employees had opportunities for other positions within the network, Tollett said.

Evans, who is worried about the employees she’s come to know and whether they will have new jobs, is also worried about how the closure affects her personally.

Evans, who went through a double amputation in January and stayed in the facility for rehab in February, said it was a place she continued to visit weekly to check her weight because it had scales for those in wheelchairs.

“It was the only place with a drive-in weigh area,” she said, adding the closure “is going to be a problem for me.”

Evans, who has to closely monitor her weight, went to the facility for the last time Friday, where patients were being discharged.

“I need that department — I don’t have anywhere else to weigh,” a concerned Evans said. “I don’t feel I should have to go to Oklahoma City to weigh.”

When asked about those scales and if they might still be available elsewhere, in Shawnee, Tollett said she had no information on that issue.

Despite her own worries, Evans said the facility itself would be missed by all those who have been helped there.

“They do wonderful things there and try to help a lot of people,” Evans said. “That was an excellent team.”

She said the staff’s goal was to get people home and independent. When she was there, she said she witnessed the daily miracles firsthand and also credits her stay for allowing her to remain independent in her own circumstances.

“What happens to the people who really need that facility?” Evans asked.

The closure of the unit comes months after questions were first raised and negotiations began over ownership of the land where the old Mission Hill building sits. The U.S. Department of Interior, in correspondence with Pottawatomie County commissioners, believes the land should revert back to the original owner, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

The former Mission Hill building is on the land that was deeded to the county in 1959 on the condition that be used for a “school or other public purpose.”

A notice from the Secretary of the Interior shows if they determine the grantee has failed to observe those provisions for at least one year, the Secretary may declare a forfeiture of the conveyance and title and then revert the land back to the United States, which is the CPN in this case, with the letter encouraging a deal that would result in CPN paying a fair price for the building improvements to the land.

District Attorney Richard Smothermon, who has been negotiating with all parties involved to come up with a resolution in that matter, could only say nothing is official yet, so that process is ongoing.

It appears that overall issue was a partial factor in the decision to close the rehab facility.

“While there were numerous factors considered in the decision to close the rehab unit, it was clear that once the CPN gained ownership of the building that we would not be able to maintain a presence at that facility,” Tollett said. “We also simply could not afford the capital cost associated with building a second unit given the current expansion plans that are underway.”

The Center for Rehab was operated as a 12-bed inpatient rehab facility taking patients on a referral basis, with the center designed to offer comprehensive rehab for patients experiencing a disabling injury or illness, such as stroke, orthopedic conditions, amputation, disability from cardiac or pulmonary conditions or other neurological and medical conditions.

The care there included a licensed physiatrist, as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapists, certified rehabilitation nurses, social work and case management services along with a dietician, to help patients through treatment and recovery.

While the rehab center won’t be available in Shawnee, Tollett said local patients still have access to the same in-patient rehab services through the St. Anthony Network.

Tollett said patients needing rehab services “will be seamlessly transitioned” to the St. Anthony Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City, which features 18 private rooms.