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Published in Health Care
Hope Network’s neuro rehabilitation gym in Grand Rapids. Hope Network’s neuro rehabilitation gym in Grand Rapids. COURTESY PHOTO

Hope Network to sell neuro rehab unit amid growing focus on mental health

BY Wednesday, June 29, 2022 12:44pm

The pending sale of Hope Network’s neuro rehabilitation business to a large, national care provider comes as the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit seeks to expand further into mental health care.

Hope Network is experiencing a large demand for mental health care that accelerated and worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for adolescents. That led leadership and directors at the organization to consider: “Is there a way that we could invest in the future and help more individuals that end up with a mental health condition?” said Hope Network CEO Phil Weaver.

“As an organization, we’re starting to refocus. We’re going to be concentrating our efforts on the opportunity to serve more individuals with mental health and behavioral health conditions, and it will be a major expansion for us,” Weaver told MiBiz. “We want to concentrate very heavily on the gaps in mental health that need to be filled. We’re already doing some of it, but we’re going to look at (whether we) can we do more.”

Hope Network has provided outpatient and inpatient mental health services for years, along with care for physically and developmentally disabled individuals. The organization could extend further into areas such as treating people with anxiety and depression or other conditions, Weaver said. 

Decisions could come by this fall on the organization’s future direction and specifics on new or expanded programs and services in mental health, he said.

Selling the neuro rehab business will better enable Hope Network to focus on mental health services, Weaver said.

“Any time you do programs, you have to have resources. With the sale, we’ll obviously have some resources to be able to do that,” he said.

Meanwhile, the deeper push into mental health will occur under new leadership. Weaver — Hope Network’s CEO for 16 years — is preparing to retire, and directors are searching for a successor.

No-fault auto insurance changes

The new strategy, as well as changes three years ago to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law, led Hope Network to sign an agreement to sell its Neuro Rehabilitation program to Boston, Mass.-based NeuroRestorative, which specializes in treating patients with brain, spinal cord and other catastrophic injuries and illnesses. NeuroRestorative has locations in 26 states, including 19 in Michigan with two clinics in Grand Rapids and one in Whitehall.

Terms of the sale, which should close in a few weeks, were undisclosed.

As part of the new strategy, Hope Network closed its Center for Recovery program earlier this year.

Hope Network decided to sell the neuro rehab program after 2019 reforms to Michigan’s auto no-fault law. The changes included a new fee schedule that care providers have complained significantly reduced their payments from insurers for people injured in vehicle crashes to where they cannot afford to provide the care.

In announcing the sale, Hope Network said leadership has been “assessing all of the agency’s service lines, including Neuro Rehabilitation, as part of their mission to do what’s best for the people they serve.”

Hope Network marketed the neuro rehab program to two potential buyers and signed a deal with NeuroRestorative, Weaver said. He said he has “great confidence” in NeuroRestorative.

“We wanted to make sure … that the people we serve and have served for so many years in neuro rehab are going to be taken care of into the future by an organization that has the breadth and depth to be able to continue to battle with the insurance companies on reimbursement rates and all of the other kinds of things that go along with that,” Weaver said. “When the auto no-fault law changed, we started thinking about: ‘OK, is it time to maybe have someone else who’s a national organization that had more depth than we have as a nonprofit to be able to do that?”

NeuroRestorative intends to offer positions to the 450 Hope Network employees who work for the neuro rehab business, which serves about 1,500 people a year, Weaver said.

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Read 2295 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 June 2022 13:48
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