GAYLORD — Physical rehabilitation care at Munson Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord and Munson Charlevoix Hospital will now be managed by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
“We consider this agreement a partnership, not an outsourcing. Munson Healthcare partners with a variety of organizations who provide expertise in specific areas. We are always looking for ways to bring leading edge or nationally recognized expertise to Northern Michigan to expand access to services, ” said Casey Kandow, system vice president of ancillary services at Traverse City-based Munson Healthcare.
Kandow said the collaboration, announced on July 5, gives patients the convenience of nationally recognized rehabilitative services close to home.
“Greater focus on stroke and brain injury recovery, joint rehab, and cognitive pain therapy are just a few of the enhancements patients have access to thanks to the new partnership,” he added.
From a single bed in Grand Rapids in 1891 to a rehabilitation system with 482 beds across more than three dozen Midwest communities, Mary Free Bed (MFB) treats more than 90,000 children and adults annually.
MFB is one of the largest and most comprehensive rehabilitation hospitals in the US, providing more than 110 specialized medical and sports rehabilitation programs, Kandow said.
“Our physical therapy program offers patients a range of services for rehabilitating orthopedic injuries, neurological deficits, musculoskeletal problems, arthritis, and chronic pain. Our goal is help each patient regain function and enjoy the activities of life once again,” said Jill Slagel, system director of rehabilitation services for Mary Free Bed at Munson Healthcare.
As part of the partnership with Mary Free Bed, a director of rehabilitation has been named. Chris Hope, current director for the Otsego Memorial Hospital programs, will assume an expanded leadership role for the Charlevoix-based clinics.
Otsego Memorial Hospital and Mary Free Bed will function under a joint operating agreement. As such, all leadership and therapy staff at Otsego Memorial Hospital clinics became employees of Mary Free Bed on July 1.
Charlevoix Hospital and Mary Free Bed have entered into a management services agreement. Dale Burkhouse has been named manager of rehabilitation services for the Charlevoix area. Burkhouse relocated from Wisconsin and started his new leadership role in June. He will lead clinical operations at the three Charlevoix-based sites, which include the hospital, Boyne City, Jordan Valley Rehab and Beaver Island.
Slagel said the partnership will not result in the loss of any services at the two hospitals.
“This will expand a patient’s access to Mary Free Bed expertise and specialists, adding to the services available. In fact, we are working to add our ReCovery program at both locations that will serve COVID long haulers. We are excited to retain the same great Staff that patients have come to know and trust The only difference is that some of the staff, depending on the location, will now technically be employees of Mary Free Bed Healthcare family, but their badges will reflect their employment as Mary Free Bed at Munson Healthcare,” Slagel said.
Will patients be able to receive the same care and services they have now at both hospital locations or will they have to go to another location?
“Mary Free Bed intends to ensure current services remain available at each facility. There may be times when a patient may need to travel to a different Munson Healthcare facility for the benefit of technology or facilities — such as aqua therapy,” Slagel said.