Summa Health enters agreement with Dayton home health care company

December 15, 2017 GMT

Summa Health enters agreement with Dayton home health care company

AKRON, Ohio -- Summa Health has entered into a joint venture with Alternate Solutions Health Care Network of Dayton to increase efficiency and streamline patient care outside of the hospital.

The move allows Akron-based Summa Health to reorganize its Summa Health at Home and Summa Hospice departments. Summa Health at Home offers doctors, nurses, physical therapists, dietitians and social workers and home health aides to provide healthcare services in the home. Summa Hospice helps terminally ill patients and their families by providing end-of-life care.


The joint venture was announced in an internal memo released this week, Dr. Mark Terpylak, senior vice president for population health at Summa Health, said Friday.

Care providers at Summa Health at Home and Summa Hospice are expected to keep their jobs as a result of this restructuring, he said. About 340 people work jointly at the two departments. Nurses, therapists, health aids and other providers will be offered jobs in the restructured departments, Terpylak said. If some decide not to make the move, “that’s their choice,” he said.

In the agreement, wages and benefit packages for the new care provider positions will be comparable – but may not be identical -- to the old jobs, he said. “We want them to transfer over,” Terpylak said.

Support positions, such as billing, recruitment and human relations, will undergo consolidation. About 30 jobs are affected. Summa will attempt to find new jobs in its system for those who lose their positions. Terpylak said he couldn’t predict how many support staffers might be out of work entirely.

“This will create more jobs than cost us (jobs), as we grow and scale that business,” he said.

Summa will own 60 percent of the joint venture with Alternate Solutions Health Care Network, and the restructuring goes into effect in February, he said.

“We think that what Alternate Solutions brings is a best-in-class operating model for hospice,” he said. Alternate Solutions Health Care Network has about 20 partnerships with Ohio hospitals, including St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center in Canton and The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Terpylak said.

Summa Health at Home and Summa Hospice will keep their names under the reorganization.

The partnership with Alternate Solutions to increase Summa’s ability to care for patients in the home, he said. Currently, Summa patients typically get multiple calls from various hospital departments setting up in-home care. “It’s a source of confusion and redundancy,” he said.


The restructured departments will provide one point of contact, as well as upgraded technology for care providers to use in patients’ homes. Streamlined software loaded onto iPads will allow workers to spend more time caring for patients, and increase efficiency, Terpylak said.

“For nurses, it’s wonderful; less typing and more care,” Terpylak said.

In the past, Summa had to refer patients to other agencies for home care when demand exceeds what the hospital could deliver. “It was frustrating for the patient,” Terpylak said. The restructured departments will be able to deliver home care to a larger volume of patients.

Summa, the largest employer in Summit County, has been struggling. It eliminated 300 positions and changed its service offerings in June 2017 to deal with $60 million in operating losses. The financial shortfall was blamed on lower patient numbers. However, those losses will actually total $35 million, $25 million less than projected, at the end of the year, the hospital said.


Summa Health has entered into a joint venture with Alternate Solutions Health Care Network, allowing the health system to deliver home care more efficiently.

Alternate Solutions is based in Dayton and has partnerships with several Ohio hospitals.

Layoffs of care professionals are not expected, although office workers who cannot find placement elsewhere in the Summa system may lose their jobs.