Tampa General Hospital and Kindred Healthcare Announce CEO of New TGH Rehabilitation Hospital | Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General Hospital and Kindred Healthcare Announce CEO of New TGH Rehabilitation Hospital

Published: Nov 9, 2021

Slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 as a joint venture, the new TGH Rehabilitation Hospital is a freestanding inpatient rehabilitation facility that has increased its number of beds to 80 to better meet the growing needs of the Tampa Bay region.


TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 9, 2021) – Tampa General Hospital (TGH) and Kindred Healthcare, LLC are announcing the appointment of Heather Higgins as CEO of the new TGH Rehabilitation Hospital to lead the new 80 bed freestanding inpatient rehabilitation hospital, which is expected to open in the second quarter of 2022.

Announced as a joint venture in May 2020, the new TGH Rehabilitation Hospital in the medical district of downtown Tampa will help meet the growing needs of Tampa Bay, the region and the state for rehabilitation recovery and care.

Higgins has more than 25 years of clinical and management experience across several complex environments, including for-profit systems, academic medical centers, and government-run systems. She will be responsible for the operations, management, and clinical resources of TGH Rehabilitation Hospital and its more than 140 team members and caregivers, including transitioning Tampa General’s inpatient rehabilitation hospital and team from the main campus to the new facility when it opens.

She most recently served as the director of rehabilitation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J., since 2014. Prior to that, she was the operations manager for the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, N.Y., for over 10 years.  In these roles, she directed inpatient therapy services, fostered growth of clinical programs across all subspecialties, and facilitated rehabilitation operations in areas spanning inpatient, outpatient, and physician practices. Higgins began her career as an occupational therapist and her clinical background is in adult physical disabilities.

Higgins has also served as a program surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) since 2007. CARF is an independent, non-profit accreditor of health and human services.

Higgins received a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Business Administration from Baruch College of The City University of New York.  She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

“As we work with Kindred to create an advanced rehabilitation facility that blends innovation with compassion, Heather’s combination of administrative experience and clinical expertise will be an asset to the TGH Rehabilitation Hospital,” said John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General Hospital. “She will play a crucial role in working toward our vision to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America.”

The new TGH Rehabilitation Hospital will provide inpatient care for adults recovering from conditions such as stroke, neurological disease, injury to the brain or spinal cord and other debilitating illnesses or injuries. The new facility will offer state-of-the-art technology and feature all private rooms. It will also have a secured brain injury unit with private dining and a therapy gym.

“Heather’s experience aligns with our model of partnering with leading acute health care systems across the nation. By bringing Heather on board, we are in the home stretch of this partnership with Tampa General that will help patients in the Tampa Bay area and beyond recover from their illnesses or injuries and restore function to regain the independence needed to get back to their lives,” said Russ Bailey, president, Kindred Rehabilitation Services.

The new TGH Rehabilitation Hospital is currently under construction and located on Kennedy Boulevard between Oregon Avenue and Willow Avenue. It brings downtown Tampa one step further in the development of a fully realized medical district that will attract the best scientists and physicians to the region and transform the area into a center for health care innovation.

“This new position is a great opportunity to build on the strong program developed by Tampa General, and partnering with Kindred will enhance services in a new leading-edge facility dedicated to that purpose,” Higgins said.

The new TGH Rehabilitation Hospital will feature a transitional living apartment – designed to simulate a residential apartment – that will enable patients to heal in a personalized and private environment as they prepare to return to independent living. Patients will also experience specially planned rooms to treat dialysis patients and programs dedicated to neurological conditions, stroke, brain injury and amputation recovery. Clinical teams will ultimately move to the new site, while Tampa General Hospital will continue to provide pediatric and outpatient rehabilitation at alternate sites. 

Tampa General Hospital currently operates its inpatient rehab facility and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Tampa General’s rehabilitation services are ranked among the top 50 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report's 2021-22 Best Hospitals. Tampa General was also recently named to Newsweek's America's Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers 2021, ranking 25th in the nation.

Tampa General Hospital, a 1,041-bed non-profit academic medical center, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market in U.S. News & World Report's 2021-22 Best Hospitals, and one of the top 4 hospitals in Florida, with five specialties ranking among the best programs in the United States. The academic medical center’s commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious 2021 Forbes magazine rankings – America’s Best Employers by State, third out of 100 Florida companies and first among health care and social organizations and 13th nationally in America’s Best Employers for Women. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal 2020 provided a net community benefit worth more than $182.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With five medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center and its 32-bed Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of FloridaIt also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health and 19 outpatient Radiology Centers. Tampa Bay residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in select areas through TGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track.  As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost.  For more information, go to www.tgh.org.


Kindred Healthcare, LLC is the nation’s leading specialty hospital company delivering acute health services in its long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, acute rehabilitation units, and behavioral health line of business, all specializing in treating the most medically complex patients. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, and ranked as one of Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Healthcare Companies for nine years, Kindred’s mission is to help our patients reach their highest potential for health and healing with intensive medical and rehabilitative care through a compassionate patient experience. For more information, go to www.kindredhealthcare.com. You can also follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.