Valpo YMCA to partner with Methodist Hospitals
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent December 4, 2012 4:26PM
Valparaiso Family YMCA CEO Bob Wanek, left, and Methodist Hosptitals President and CEO Ian McFadden applaud as a sign signifying their respective organizations new partnership during a press conference in Valparaiso Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 6, 2013 9:52AM
VALPARAISO — Members of the city’s YMCA will have more than the usual benefits thanks to a partnership with The Methodist Hospitals that’s unique in the nation.
The Valparaiso Family YMCA and Methodist Hospitals officials announced the three-year partnership at a news conference on Tuesday.
Hiren Italia, a board-certified family and sports medicine practitioner, has already taken up residence at the YMCA at 1201 Cumberland Crossing Drive. However, there will be other services throughout the program, including physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, wellness talks and alternative medicine, such as recreational and occupational therapy.
“It’ll be a fully staffed clinic,” including having staff stationed on the YMCA floor, said Ian E. McFadden, president and CEO of Methodist Hospitals.
Although the services would be open to visiting community groups and possibly nonmembers, the hospital and YMCA officials haven’t worked out all details yet and focus remains on the YMCA.
“We want to make sure we service the membership,” McFadden said. “Our whole focus is to make sure we assist the Y.”
Bob Wanek, CEO of the Valparaiso Family YMCA, said individual chapters of the national organization have done partnerships with hospitals, and the national organization’s partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for diabetes awareness requires a partnership with a hospital.
“But the depth of this program is unique,” especially in the variety of planned services, Wanek said.
The YMCA contacted every hospital in the region after it began looking for a partner six months ago, he said. A previous partnership with Porter Regional Hospital ended in November.
Methodist’s commitment to not-for-profits and helping people mirrors the YMCA’s, and the hospital’s leadership team is committed to it, Wanek said. Methodist also had a depth of services, he added.
Methodist Hospitals has full-service medical campuses in Gary and Merrillville. It has an outpatient clinic in Gary as well as a number of physician practices in Gary, Merrillville, Griffith, Crown Point, St. John and Hebron.
The first steps in this new partnership with the YMCA will be to put the doctor and physical therapy on site and have both organizations launch marketing pushes.
Methodist will bring in about a dozen people to work at the YMCA on a regular basis, including support staff, clinical staff, nutritionists and therapists. The hospital will have two staff members at the YMCA at all times, McFadden said.
The hours for those two full-time staffers haven’t been decided yet, but they will be for YMCA members’ convenience, he said.
Wanek said they hope to have programs outside the YMCA building, too. That could be “lunch and learn” programs at some of the offices of the 50 corporate members of the YMCA.
Mark Hardwick, chief volunteer officer of the Valparaiso Family YMCA, said although the collaboration has a three-year agreement, he hopes for extensions to that. “I believe it will last a long, long time,” he said.