Community, Spectrum Health System

Longtime Relationship and Remarkable Results Spur Formal Collaboration

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 1, 2018 – Experts from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health have been longtime collaborators in patient care and are now forming a deeper relationship.

“For years we have worked closely with clinicians at Mary Free Bed to coordinate care for patients who can benefit from the highly specialized technology and expertise they provide,” explains Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker. “We are excited to formalize processes that will benefit our patients and our community.”

Mary Free Bed President & CEO Kent Riddle has first-hand knowledge of that process. His wife nearly died from a traumatic brain injury following a 2002 traffic accident. “The medical team at Spectrum Health saved Susan’s life,” says Riddle. “When she regained consciousness after being in a coma for two weeks, Susan transferred to Mary Free Bed where she got her life back following seven weeks of intensive therapy.”

Freese Decker and Riddle signed an agreement establishing a Forum for Hospital Collaboration that outlines the shared vision. The two organizations will focus first on coordinated pediatric research and tracking results of patients from birth to age 17 who receive care at both hospitals. They will also collaborate on refining the process to coordinate the intensive rehabilitation services that patients receive at both Spectrum Health and Mary Free Bed. Research shows the sooner patients begin vigorous rehabilitation, the better their outcomes. Both leaders are committed to the Forum and believe it will improve patient care.


Divya Harkema

Five-year-old Divya Harkema has cerebral palsy. With help from Healing the Children, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, Divya and her mother, Merissa, traveled from their home in India to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, a life-changing procedure that improves muscle spasticity and is offered at a limited number of children’s hospitals in the U.S. The procedure was performed by pediatric neurosurgeon Casey Madura, M.D., at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Divya then transferred to Mary Free Bed for specialized rehabilitation. She graduated from inpatient services and has outpatient rehabilitation five days a week as she learns to walk again.

From India to Grand Rapids | Divya’s medical journey with Spectrum Health and Mary Free Bed

Lila DeLine

An August car crash left Lila DeLine with a life-threatening spinal cord injury. Essentially, she was internally decapitated when her skull separated from her spine, an injury that is often fatal. She was an inpatient at Spectrum Health for eight days, where she underwent a series of surgeries before she was transferred to Mary Free Bed. In late October, after nearly two months of specialized and vigorous rehabilitation, Lila walked out the door with her husband and children by her side.

Lila DeLine’s Journey to recovery at Spectrum Health and Mary Free Bed


About Mary Free Bed

Mary Free Bed is one of the largest and most comprehensive rehabilitation hospitals in the United States. The combination of more than 110 specialized medical and sports rehabilitation programs and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables our specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results – consistently exceeding the national average and in some areas, leading the way. Our inpatient satisfaction scores are in the top one percent in the United States. A not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital, Mary Free Bed experts have restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation since 1891 for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Network includes 35 hospitals across the state. We manage rehabilitation care for 350 inpatient beds in 9 Michigan cities and have an extensive outpatient system. For additional information, visit

 About Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities.  We live our mission every day with 30,000 compassionate professionals, 4,100 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members.  Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 225 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $457 million in community benefit in the last fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.



Tim Hawkins
Media Relations
Office: 616.486.6091
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