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Hospital, partner to open new long-term care unit

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GREENFIELD — A Muncie-based specialty hospital will join forces with Hancock Regional Hospital this summer to provide long-term acute care for patients from Indianapolis to Cincinnati.

A deal between AMG Specialty Hospital Central Indiana and HRH is currently pending approval by the Indiana State Department of Health; however, the hospitals are beginning to coordinate transition and logistical issues ahead of a target launch date of June 1, said Rob Matt, HRH vice president of business development and marketing.

AMG will lease the hospital’s 23-bed medical surgical wing to provide the new service, Matt said.

Long-term acute care involves more intensive medical care over a longer period of time than generally considered customary.

An average hospital stay runs about three days; however, long-term acute care involves a stay of 25 days or more, said AMG CEO Rodney Midkiff.

AMG specializes in ventilator management, non-healing wounds, surgical and cardiac complications and other conditions of chronic, acutely ill patients, he said.

“It’s a different level of care,” Matt said. “It involves patients that need lots of care for a longer period of time.”

 Though AMG will lease the HRH wing, utilize its services and purchase its supplies, the company will bring in its own staff that is certified in the specialized care.

“We’ll be bringing about 40 fulltime jobs to the area,” Midkiff said.

For HRH, the arrangement allows the local hospital to add another layer of medical service to the community and generate an additional revenue stream without adding infrastructure or making a capital investment.

“Hancock Regional is the health-care leader in our community, and as a health care leader, we have an obligation to meet the health care needs of the community,” Matt said. “We’re meeting a need.”

The level of care offered by the new service is currently not available in the region, which was one of the marketing drivers for AMG.

“Right now, there is no long-term acute care service from Indianapolis to Cincinnati, so we can pull patients from that entire region,” Midkiff said.

With the new service, patients and their families in Hancock County and points farther south and east will have an alternative to Indianapolis for receiving treatment.

“Patients can stay in Greenfield or come back to Greenfield for (long term) treatment instead of Indianapolis,” Midkiff said.

AMG currently serves patients referred from across the country, Midkiff said, and HRH officials say that additional patient roster will bolster revenues locally.

“One of the beauties of this is that today patients have to travel to Indianapolis to get this level of care,” Matt said. “We will now be a location between Richmond and Indianapolis where people can get this.”

For AMG, folding its operation into an existing hospital also has benefits.

“Many of these long-term acute care hospitals are free-standing facilities,” Midkiff said. “If a patient needs (intensive care unit) treatment, they might have to be loaded up and transported to another facility.

“We will be utilizing all the services of the hospital, so if one of our patients needs ICU care, we can just wheel them right down the hall.”

Though the two hospitals will maintain separate care, business, purchasing and billing identities, the operation “will be seamless,” for the patients, Matt said.

Incorporating AMG will have no adverse impacts on HRH patient capacity or services, and no hospital employees were released to make room for the move, Matt said.

AMG Specialty Hospital Central Indiana is one of 15 acute care hospitals owned nationally by AMG, Integrated Healthcare Management of Lafayette, La. It purchased the former 32-bed Integra Specialty Hospital in Muncie in 2012.

The privately owned company was founded in 1999, according to the firm’s web site.

Negotiations to bring AMG to Hancock County have been ongoing for approximately the past year, Matt said, and officials say they are looking forward to the new arrangement.

 “As a small, community hospital, Hancock Regional has really made a name for itself and continues to grow,” Midkiff said. “They’ve shown they are willing to think outside the box.”

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