The Health Care District of Palm Beach County marked the centennial of the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation & Nursing Center with a ceremony on April 11. More than 50 community leaders, current and former staff, and residents attended the celebration at the 120-bed facility in Riviera Beach.
The Healey Center opened at its current site five years ago. The facility relocated from West Palm Beach, where the formerly named “Palm Beach County Home” and “Poor Farm” had served the community since 1917.
“The legacy of the Healey Center dates back to the birth of this county, and the mission to serve those in need continues to this day,” said Darcy J. Davis, CEO of the Healthcare District of Palm Beach County. “The Health Care District is proud to recognize our skilled nursing home for reaching this historic milestone.”
The Healey Center serves eligible Palm Beach County residents with traumatic injuries or debilitating illnesses. Unlike a typical nursing home, the average age of the residents at the Healey Center is 55 years old. Residents often arrive at the Healey Center unable to walk or talk. The Healey Center’s professional staff delivers occupational, physical and speech therapy that successfully returns residents to their highest optimal capabilities.
“The Health Care District is a unique public healthcare system that serves as the county’s health care safety net,” said Commissioner Philip H. Ward, III, chair of the Health Care District Board of Commissioners. “This facility is a critical component of that safety net.”
Historians note there are few institutions in the county that are a century old. Keynote speaker, veteran Palm Beach Post reporter and historical author Eliot Kleinberg, described how Dr. A. H. King, Palm Beach County’s first health officer, urged county leaders during World War I to find a place where the poor and underserved could receive medical help.
The Health Care District began operating the facility in 1995 through an agreement with the county. It was renamed in honor of the late State Rep. Edward J. Healey, who helped create the Health Care District in 1988. For more info., visit www.hcdpbc.org/healeycenter.