Henry Ford Makes Changes to Care for Growing Elderly Population

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , January 18, 2010

It's a move of expansion and contraction for Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, which plans to close 86 inpatient beds at Henry Ford Cottage Hospital in Grosse Point Farms, MI, to make way for new outpatient medical services to serve a burgeoning elderly population in the area.

The 20-bed medical-surgical unit as well as a 30-bed psychiatric unit and 36-bed rehabilitation unit program will be closed at Cottage Hospital, whose patients will be relocated to other Henry Ford campuses on or before April 3, officials said. Henry Ford purchased the Cottage Hospital in 2007 from Bon Secours Health System.

Henry Ford seeks to "better meet the growing needs of an aging population and reflect the increased demand for outpatient healthcare," says David Olejarz, a spokesman for Henry Ford Health Systems.

The need for outpatient services is considered strong in the Detroit area's eastern suburbs, especially with a growing elderly population.

The changes were made after Cottage Hospital reported fiscal losses, though officials did not provide details, except to say the surgical unit was running at half its daily capacity. The hospital, which now employs 450 people, will cut jobs, but there is no specific number.

Henry Ford officials said a top priority was to preserve as many jobs as possible. The company said it seeks to match employees impacted by the changes with open positions throughout its health system.

Under the new plan, Cottage Hospital will operate as a large multi-specialty outpatient center with more than a dozen services that include a:

  • Specialty program for seniors
  • Center for women's health
  • Sports injury treatment center

"We are looking forward and are committed to continuing to partner and work side-by-side with the private practice physicians who will play an integral role in the long-term success of the Cottage," says Mark Kelley, MD, vice president for the Henry Ford Health System and chief executive officer of the Henry Ford Medical Group.

The center will be modeled after Henry Ford's medical center in Dearborn, which sees more than 350,000 outpatient visits a year, officials said.

More than 30 additional physicians will be recruited at Cottage Hospital to provide a wide range of primary care and specialty services, says Robert Riney, chief operating officer for the Henry Ford Health Systems. Emergency care and other services, such as radiation oncology and physical and occupational therapy, will remain at Cottage Hospital.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.

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