(Missoula Current) Missoula's two primary hospitals on Thursday announced their plan to join forces in building and operating a new inpatient rehabilitation hospital.

The free-standing facility will help fill a growing local need for specialized rehabilitation services, the hospitals said in a joint statement.

"A freestanding rehabilitation hospital will allow more patients to receive intensive rehabilitation here in Missoula,” said Bonnie Stephens, the CMO at Community. “We're excited to partner with Providence St. Patrick Hospital to leverage our shared resources to best serve patients throughout the region as they recover from illness or injury."

Upon completion of the project, Community will transition its existing inpatient rehabilitation program to the new hospital. Providence will provide supplemental clinical services and administrative support.

The new hospital will provide intensive nursing, physical, occupational and speech therapy services for adults recovering from conditions such as stroke, neurological disease, brain or spinal cord injury, and other debilitating illnesses or injuries.

An exact location hasn't been announced.

"Community Medical Center and Providence St. Patrick Hospital are planning on a facility of approximately 45,000 square feet and 40 beds," Megan Condra, community relations for Community, said Thursday. "While construction timelines are not yet finalized, we estimate the hospital will open to patients in late 2026 or early 2027."

Upon completion, the rehabilitation hospital will become the first freestanding rehabilitation hospital to be located in Missoula, the partners said.

The partners said they'll be able to provide highly specialized care that meets each patient’s unique needs.

"It has been our goal to expand access to specialty care in the Missoula community, and today, we take an important step forward,” said Providence CEO William Calhoun. "Through our partnership with Community Medical Center, we're not only establishing a new facility but also expanding a system of care serving our patients with the individualized rehabilitation care they need."