SOUTH BEND -- Memorial Hospital says it's buying part of Madison Center's assets to avoid a gap in quality mental healthcare in this community. For $3 million, Memorial will take over three buildings and the programs provided there - including inpatient mental healthcare.
The GeroPsych Institute, Madison Center Hospital, and Riverside Hospital are the buildings included in the deal. About 250 employees are working there right now. And Memorial says it plans to hire most of those workers back.
The Madison Center has been at the center of controversy. Last year a judge appointed someone to manage the center's finances.
Michael Lane, the Madison Center's Acting CEO says this purchase will mean not only better management and greater access to services but also a future for those services -- something that had been on shaky ground in the past.
Dr. Jesse Hsieh sees all kinds of patients at The South Bend Clinic in Granger. But for at least the past year he has been seeing more and more mental health patients.
"Mental Health care is a big part of medical health care today," says Hsieh.
The problem is, Hsieh isn't a psychiatrist, and like many doctors would like to refer his mental health patients to a specialist.
"Part of our frustration in the past was access to good mental health care of high quality and high patient satisfaction," says Hsieh.
For at least the past year, there has been a gap in inpatient Mental Health care in the area. Not because the Madison center was closed, but because after lawsuits, layoffs and cuts, its future was uncertain and doctors were hesitant to refer patients there.
"Our concern was that if we didn't step up and continue those services and work something out that those services were at risk of closing," says Kreg Gruber the Executive Vice President and COO at Memorial Hospital.
This week, Memorial Hospital announced it would be taking over inpatient mental health services.
"When it comes to operating hospitals, we know how to do that," says Gruber, "the things I hope they (the community) notice a difference in is that it improves quality of care, improves the service we give to our patients and customers, families and we will recruit additional psychiatrists to the community to offer those services. So I hope those are the things they notice."
The facility will get a new name when Memorial takes over: The Memorial Epworth Center.
The purchase process is not completed yet but Memorial expects it should be finalized by April 1.
The $3 million purchase price is far from the $53 million owed to bond holders. Lane says he was able to convince bond holders that this was the best option. He says there are also other financial and non financial considerations that helped make the deal easier to swallow for bond holders, but those are not public.
The other buildings on Madison Center Property will be sold and the assets put into a trust for the bond holders. Lane says two buildings are already under contract to be sold in the next couple weeks and another is in the process of negotiations.