July 03, 2013 - Genesys Health Systems announced in June that it will relocate its residential hospice services in Goodrich to a separate, dedicated wing of Genesys Convalescent Center (a skilled nursing facility) in Grand Blanc in August. Genesys is currently evaluating several viable re-purposing opportunities for the Goodrich building site, both medical and non-medical, that would continue to service the community.
"Before making these extremely difficult decisions, we thoroughly evaluated every option possible in order to impact the least number of associates," said Elizabeth Aderholdt, president and CEO of Genesys. "We looked at duplication of services as well as the demand for services in order to adapt to the current and future changes in healthcare while maintaining the highest quality of patient care."
Genesys, like other healthcare facilities across the nation, is initiating structural and programmatic changes to help ensure its long-term sustainability in the era of healthcare reform. These initiatives will result in the reduction of approximately 100 full-time equivalent positions, according to the statement issued.
Emery Bennett, former Atlas Township trustee and past board chairman of the Goodrich Volunteer Ambulance for 19 years, was disappointed with the decision.
"It's the first time in more almost 100 years that some part of the Wheelock medical facility has not been in the community," he said.
In 1961, Goodrich General Hospital closed after serving the community since being founded by Amos Wheelock, MD, in 1916. The facility was located on Hegel Road and Ridge Road. Soon after residents gathered at a public meeting and submitted pledges and received additional support from the Industrial Mutual Association, Mott Foundation and General Motors, paving the way for a full-service, 53-bed hospital on 8.7 acres along M-15 north of Hegel Road. The hospital was named Wheelock Memorial Hospital, in memory of the founder of Goodrich's original hospital.
About 1992, St. Joseph Health Systems took over Wheelock and changed its name to Genesys Health System and the names of its four hospitals to Genesys Regional Medical Center.
"We worked hard to keep the emergency room at Wheelock as long as we could," said Bennett.
"Around that time there was about 15,000 emergencies that came in to the Wheelock Hospital right here in the Atlas Township Goodrich area. But they still decided to close the facility."
In February 1997, Genesys consolidated its four hospitals, Flint Osteopathic Campus, Genesee Memorial Campus, St. Joseph Campus and Wheelock Memorial Campus into one with the opening of Genesys Regional Medical Center Health Park in Grand Blanc.
"Sometime after that Wheelock Hospital became a hospice," he said.
"It has been good for jobs in the area and has been a part of the community for a long time. We really don't need another empty building here in the community."
Many of these initiatives were necessary, according to a statement issued by Genesys, due to reduced reimbursement brought about through the Affordable Care Act and Sequestration.
For instance, it is estimated that for its fiscal year 2014 Genesys will have an $11 million reduction in reimbursement for the same amount of patient care it is currently delivering today.
Starting as early as this summer, the state will be eliminating reimbursement for the room and board of hospice patients who are not in a skilled nursing facility – a 38 percent reduction in revenue, hospital officials reported in a statement.
Genesys officials were not specific on the future of the Goodrich Hospice employees.
In their statement to the media they said that many associates will be able to interview and obtain employment with the new service providers, while others will have an opportunity to transition into critical open positions within Genesys Health System that match their skills and experience.