GRAND RAPIDS — Agreements to manage inpatient rehabilitation units at two hospitals in northern Indiana are part of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s strategy to extend care beyond Michigan.
The Grand Rapids-based Mary Free Bed began managing operations at 20-bed inpatient units at Beacon Health System’s Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Ind., and Memorial Hospital in South Bend on Jan. 1.
Mary Free Bed added Beacon Health to a rehab network that already included eight health systems and more than 30 Michigan hospitals with a combined 350 inpatient rehabilitation beds, plus a number of outpatient units.
More arrangements with health systems outside of Michigan are in the works, as Mary Free Bed seeks to further expand its care network into contiguous and nearby states, said President and CEO Kent Riddle.
“Now that we are across state lines, we will have others that we will be talking with that will also be beyond the state lines,” Riddle said, adding that “a few more would be our desire” in 2020.
The professional services agreement with Beacon Health is Mary Freed Bed’s first with a health system in Indiana to manage inpatient rehab units.
“Together, we are creating even brighter futures for our adult patients who need rehabilitation following injuries, illnesses or surgeries,” Beacon Health CEO Kreg Gruber said.
Mary Free Bed for years has treated rehab patients in Grand Rapids who were referred from northern Indiana, Riddle said.
Patient referrals from Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital to Mary Free Bed involved medically complex rehab cases, said Bruce Brasser, Mary Free Bed’s vice president of network operations.
Beacon reached out about deepening ties “after talking to others in the Midwest” that have had experience working with Mary Free Bed, Brasser said. The new professional services agreement between the two could eventually extend to outpatient rehab care at Beacon Health in the future, he said.
“We’ve had success with a few of our partners in doing both inpatient and outpatient,” he said. “Beacon has asked us to focus initially on inpatient, but we’ve left that door open to further collaboration and expansion of services where they may add some service in the community they may not have today.”
Signing Beacon Health and entering the northern Indiana market follows May Free Bed’s mission “to serve more patients that need rehabilitation care,” Brasser said.