Health Care

Hospitals sign rehabilitation agreement

August 18, 2015
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Hospitals sign rehabilitation agreement
Munson Medical Center in Traverse City is a 391-bed hospital with roughly 3,700 employees. Courtesy Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

A local hospital has expanded its statewide rehabilitation network by signing an agreement with a hospital in northern Michigan.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids said last week that it has signed the agreement with Munson Medical Center in Traverse City to bring Munson into the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network — a collaborative alliance of Michigan hospitals and providers — and provide additional professional management services to enhance rehabilitative care at Munson.

Munson Medical Center is a 391-bed hospital with roughly 3,700 employees and part of the Munson Healthcare system. 

Rehab network

The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network was formed in 2011 to create an integrated system of rehabilitative care for patients, while leveraging Mary Free Bed’s expertise.

Bruce Brasser, VP of network operations for Mary Free Bed, said the network provides a continuity of care for patients and access for educational content and best practices for providers.

“It provides us an opportunity to transfer patients between organizations easily, provides access to rehabilitation education materials that we have for our clinical staff and physicians — and really a way for us to share that education content with this pretty extensive network,” Brasser said.

"Raise the bar" for rehab services

Derk Pronger, COO at Munson Medical Center, said the hospital has worked with Mary Free Bed for years to coordinate care for patients who need intensive inpatient rehabilitation.

“Working together to raise the bar on our own rehabilitation programs just makes sense,” Pronger said. “Mary Free Bed’s focus on acute rehabilitation care and access to their specialists can help us further improve the quality of care we deliver to our patients, enhance the services already available and keep patients closer to home for the care they need.”

After discussing additional services Mary Free Bed could offer Munson Medical Center, Brasser said the two organizations reached an agreement for Mary Free Bed to provide professional management services for several of Munson’s rehabilitation services.

Mary Free Bed will offer leadership at Munson’s 12-bed inpatient unit and for acute care therapy services and also at several of Munson’s outpatient care facilities in Traverse City and in Kinsgley.

The daily operations management is effective this week, and Mary Free Bed is providing two full-time, director-level professionals to Munson.

The agreement

The agreement will not change ownership of Munson Medical Center’s inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services or locations, and rehabilitation services operated by other hospitals in the Munson Healthcare system will not be impacted.

Jane Brierley, VP of external relations for Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, said the five hospitals in the network have management services agreements, which are “predicated upon the need of each organization and built completely on collaboration.”

Munson Medical Center employees will remain with the organization, rather than transitioning to Mary Free Bed, and staffing will not be changed.

“We are not replacing any current employees,” Brasser said. “We are helping to identify strengths and areas of opportunities that we can build on, as we look to grow together to provide more services to patients that could benefit from them and look to improve the quality of care.”

Mary Free Bed and Munson Medical Center completed a due-diligence process to learn about each team before agreeing to collaborate.

Brasser said the organizations found that their directions, missions and visions “are really synergistic.”

“Together, we believe we can improve the care of the Traverse City community,” Brasser said. 

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