Healthy living community to be built in Liberty

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- A healthy living neighborhood is coming to Liberty. The hospital there is one of the partners in what developers call a unique concept that will connect generations.

Seventeen acres just north of Liberty Hospital will become the neighborhood called Norterre. Ground was broken Tuesday for the $66 million first phase.

"This will be an international example. There's no question about it," said Steve Shields, the managing partner.

Shields said the first phase will have households for seniors and short-term suites for people in rehabilitation after injury or illness. There will eventually be housing for people of all ages.

The first phase will also have a healthy living center. Shields envisions marathoners working out alongside people whose doctors have prescribed exercise as well as stroke survivors and others receiving physical therapy.

"So it's really people of all ages and backgrounds aligned around achieving well-being," said Shields.

Liberty Hospital is one of the partners. Its therapists will work at the healthy living center.

"I think all hospitals are looking at this aspect of care beyond the four walls," said David Feess, the hospital CEO.

Feess said that's because of changes in the way hospitals are reimbursed for care. With hip and knee replacements, for example, hospitals now get one bundled payment from Medicare to cover all of a patient's care over a 90-day period.

"Obviously, this type of a project helps us manage some of those costs," Feess added.

The hope is to keep patients from being re-admitted to the hospital.

"This will create a continuum and a flow, and we'll organize around each person," said Shields.

The first phase of Norterre is expected to open in a year.

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