News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 20, 2014

Union physical therapy sees management changes

Combining hospital, provider efforts to be ‘seamless’ for patients

TERRE HAUTE — While patients shouldn’t notice anything different, Union Hospital is making some changes in management of its physical therapy services.

Effective Jan. 19, the hospital has entered into a temporary management service agreement with Evansville-based ProgressiveHealth for therapy services.

The hospital and Progressive have been working on forming a joint venture, with Union retaining 51 percent ownership, but details are still being worked out, said James Twitchell, Union community benefit specialist.

A final agreement could take several months, he said.

Union’s goal in making the changes is to gain efficiencies, save money and enhance quality, Wayne Hutson, Union Hospital Inc. chief financial officer, said earlier this month.

ProgressiveHealth operates in eight states.

The changes will be seamless to patients, Hutson said. “They will notice no difference whatsoever.”

Services will continue to be provided at three sites: the Bone and Joint Center on Fifth Street, north of the hospital; Thomas Professional Plaza, across from Walmart South; and the Professional East location, at Wabash and Fruitridge avenues.

“ProgressiveHealth has expertise in providing therapy services,” Hutson said. “They’ve been in this business for 20 years.”

The company has worked with Deaconess Hospital in Evansville for the past eight years with a good track record, Hutson said.

Union Hospital has about 75 physical and occupational therapists, assistants, receptionists and clerical staff, and they will remain Union employees under the temporary management service agreement, Twitchell said.

When and if a joint venture is finalized, changes could occur in pay and benefits, with part of the pay based on performance, Union officials said.

Last month, human resource officials with both Union and ProgressiveHealth met one-on-one with affected employees, Hutson said. Subsequent communications have also taken place, with the delay of the joint venture.

Hutson indicated that one of the long-term goals is to “grow the business.” In Evansville, ProgressiveHealth “has been able to grow the therapy business for Deaconess Hospital.”

No Union employees have been let go with the change, Twitchell said. “If any manager or any therapist wanted to leave, that was their own decision. We did not get rid of anyone,” he said.

One manager did leave for a new opportunity.

The new management organization may have a different philosophy on how the operation should be run, Twitchell said. Some employees “maybe don’t agree with that philosophy.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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