Peter Go routinely urges his patients to keep going – keep lifting weights or squeezing hand grips.
The occupational therapist at Vibra Hospital of Fort Wayne knows that if their muscles grow stronger, their quality of life will improve over the long term.
But the short term is important, too, Go said. Vibra’s January move into Parkview Hospital Randallia has significantly reduced the time it takes patients recovering from strokes, head trauma and other conditions to reach medical equipment for doctor-ordered tests.
Previously, patients at the long-term, acute-care hospital had to wait for an ambulance to ferry them from the facility’s former location at 2626 Fairfield Ave. to a local hospital. The wait, at times, was hours.
Now it’s as quick as an elevator ride, which is huge, Go said.
As Vibra prepares to mark one year at its current location, new CEO Kerry Ashment is charting the course forward. That could include doubling the number of patient beds to 48 and expanding the health care provider’s presence to three hospital floors from the current two.
Vibra provides a transition between the intensive-care unit in a traditional hospital and a home or nursing home. Patients have typically experienced strokes, open-heart surgery, amputations or other serious medical events.
Ashment, who came to Vibra from Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, is accustomed to seeing patients suffering after falls taken while snow skiing or mountain climbing. At his previous post, some of the patients had even been gored by bison.
The biggest difference between Vibra’s patients and those in intensive care at Parkview or Lutheran is simply that Vibra’s patients stay longer – averaging about one month.
They are truly the sickest of the sick coming out of the hospitals, said Ashment, 47.
By moving patients inside the Parkview Randallia building, Vibra has made it easier for medical specialists to visit patients regularly – and that ease has increased the number of visits and quality of care, said Go, the occupational therapist.
The health care provider also has a formal evaluation process.
Dr. Brian Zehr, who specializes in lung diseases, serves as Vibra’s medical director. The pulmonologist, who is also in private practice, reviews the care Vibra’s staff provides and suggests ways to improve.
Vibra entered the local market in late 2010 when it bought four Progressive Healthcare hospitals that were in bankruptcy.
The Fairfield Avenue facility provided quality care but hadn’t mastered financial aspects of the business, a Vibra official said at the time of the acquisition.
Officials with privately owned Vibra taught local hospital staff to pre-certify patients for admission, enabling the hospital to collect payment faster. The company also shared best practices for billing and administrative tasks.
Vibra isn’t the only long-term, acute-care hospital in Fort Wayne.
Local competitor Select Specialty Hospital leases space on the seventh and eighth floors of St. Joseph Hospital, which is part of Lutheran Health Network.
By leasing space to Vibra, Parkview Health was able to generate income while easing the fears of neighbors who thought the Randallia campus might be abandoned after Parkview Regional Medical Center opened in March 2012.
Ashment, the married father of three sons, recently settled his family into a local home in Carroll High School’s district. The Utah native has been in charge of the local hospital for three months.
The CEO wants to fill Vibra’s beds, provide services to the community and lead staff to form a strong team.
Ultimately, Ashment said, his goal is to help lift everyone’s game.