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Transitional Care Unit to Close

An IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Release

IU Health Ball Memorial closing transitional care unit

MUNCIE –Rapidly changing health care environment and available bed capacity by local skilled nursing facilities in the community are among the reasons Indiana University Health Ball Memorial hospital will close its transitional care unit (TCU) contemplated by the end of February 2013, hospital officials announced Tuesday.

The 28 bed unit, while located on the hospital campus, is separately licensed as a Health Facility (or skilled nursing facility) by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) for  residents who require skilled medical services while continuing to recover from procedures including surgeries, strokes and fractures.  Services include nursing, cardio and respiratory management; pain management; and physical, occupational and speech therapy. The unit averages about 18 residents daily, with an average length of stay of 12 days.

“This was a difficult decision but as health care changes, we have to continually evaluate areas of care we offer, to ensure we are focusing our time and resources on the acute care hospital services that are of greatest need to the community,” said Michael Haley, president and CEO, Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

Maintaining compliance with continuously shifting governmental requirements coupled with decreasing Medicare reimbursement have made it difficult for the hospital to cover the expense of operating the unit. IU Health Ball Memorial loses an estimated $3 million per year on the unit.

Tentative plans call for the TCU  to officially close February 28, 2013, which date is still subject to ISDH review. Once TCU formally notifies its residents in writing of the closure (anticipated the week of December 17th), it will no longer be able to admit new residents. TCU plans to work closely with residents and their families along with local long-term care providers to insure a smooth transition to alternate facilities or other settings, said Chief Nursing Officer Doreen Johnson.

“We have identified 198 unoccupied skilled beds at various facilities in Delaware County , so we do not anticipate having any problem helping  residents find appropriate alternative care,” Johnson said.  “Our case management department will work with local providers to determine the best facility for individual residents.”

Approximately 47 employees will be impacted by these changes. The hospital plans to work with these individuals to try to find them positions within the IU Health system or with local long term care providers, Johnson said.

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