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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Rolls out Red Carpet for Employee Number 1,000




* Pictures and video available at request.

It won’t be any ordinary first day on the job for physician assistant Ashley Wharton. She will be met with a red carpet, cake, and well wishers as she reports for duty at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Ashley brings to 1,000 the number of current employees at Mary Free Bed.

The hospital has experienced unusual growth during the past 17 months. Between July 2011 and December 2012, 267 additional staff members have been added for a 36% increase. The vast majority of additional hires have filled clinical positions. Industry analysts call this a great achievement especially when many hospitals have static or diminishing employee rolls.

Mary Free Bed CEO, Kent Riddle, says more employees are needed to care for an increasing number of patients. Inpatient admissions jumped 39% at the Grand Rapids hospital from July 2011 to December 2012 compared with the previous 17-month period. Riddle explains, “I’m excited about the growth, but not just for growth’s sake. We’ve increased the number of patients being served.”  He continues, “For me, the number of patients isn’t about the bottom line, it’s about the people we’re caring for – people who are going to have better outcomes and brighter futures.”

During the past 17 months, Mary Free Bed has achieved a number of accomplishments:

  • Forged an alliance with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago – the nation’s number one rehabilitation hospital
  • Developed the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network – a consortium of collaborative hospitals and organizations which expands access to services
  • Purchased leading-edge rehabilitation equipment, such as the Lokomat Pro®


Background Information

About Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, acute care rehabilitation hospital. For more than 120 years, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has served the needs of Michigan children and adults for more than a century – restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation. The scope of rehabilitation services on the Mary Free Bed campus is not found anywhere else in Michigan: 80 acute care inpatient beds, extensive outpatient programs, as well as home and community services. The combination of comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enable specialty physicians and staff to achieve outstanding clinical outcomes. For additional information, visit or call 800.528.8989.

About Mary Free Bed Network

This consortium of collaborative organizations extends the availability of specialized rehabilitation services across Michigan. In addition to an alliance with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network includes six hospitals and several retirement communities.



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