GRAND RAPIDS — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital will reach into the Chicago health care market with a contract to manage care at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital.
The Grand Rapids-based Mary Free Bed signed a three-year professional services agreement with Sinai Chicago’s Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital to cover outpatient and inpatient care, manage day-to-day operations and coordinate marketing.
Most staff at the 92-bed Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital will remain employed by Sinai Chicago, except for about a dozen hospital leaders who will join Mary Free Bed. Bruce Brasser, vice president of operations for the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network, serves as interim president for Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital.
“We think we can improve care there in Chicago,” Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle told MiBiz. “There are people that need us and our number one strategic objective is to serve more patients that aren’t receiving rehabilitation care or could use improved care.”
Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital is owned by Sinai Chicago, which also includes Mount Sinai Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Sinai Children’s Hospital, Sinai Medical Group, Sinai Community Institute and Sinai Urban Health Institute.
“Schwab and Mary Free Bed working together is a critical channel to open more doors to care for those in need,” Airica Steed, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Sinai Chicago, said in an announcement on the contract with Mary Free Bed. “Through this agreement, we’ll connect with more patients by expanding services, streamlining our admissions process and ensuring patients transition smoothly between levels of care. Simply put, we want to make sure as many patients as possible are able to get the rehabilitation services they need to improve their lives.”
The contract with Schwab Rehabilitation is the latest extension outside of Michigan for Mary Free Bed’s care network. In early 2020, Mary Free Bed first reached across state lines with a deal to manage operations of a 20-bed inpatient unit at Beacon Health System’s Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Ind. and Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
After the contract with Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Mary Free Bed’s decade-old Rehabilitation Network now manages or provides rehabilitative care at about 40 hospitals that collectively have 482 inpatient beds plus extensive outpatient operations in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Mary Free Bed expects to serve about 90,000 patients this year.
Sinai Chicago first approached Mary Free Bed about 18 months ago to discuss a partnership, Riddle said. Mary Free Bed has ongoing discussions with about a dozen other health systems that potentially could join its care network, he added.
“We are going to continue that and continue to spread more regionally and now nationally,” Riddle said.