Last week, St. Francis Senior Ministries in Tiffin issued a press release announcing a new management partnership with Trinity Senior Living Communities, based in Livonia, Mich. Friday, Cindy Cieciwa, Vice President of Trinity's New Business Operations, was in Tiffin for the signing of the agreement, which is to take effect Jan. 2.
St. Francis officials present for the signing were Bob Hausie, retiring CEO of St. Francis Senior Ministries; Sr. Jackie Doepker, community minister for the Sisters of St. Francis; Jane Cook, RN, director of nursing at St. Francis Home; Sisters Mary Kuhlman and Joanne Lammers, members of the sisters' leadership team; and Jean Overmier, LPN, administrative
Hausie said more than a year ago, he started looking for a management company with a goal of sustaining the mission and heritage of St. Francis Senior Ministries. Trinity manages 32 communities in four states with independent and assisted living, long term care, memory care, nursing and rehabilitation options. Sr. Jackie Doepker, community minister for the sisters,
"We had looked around for other possibilities, and we did research over the last couple years, and we thought Trinity was the best fit. They have very similar values to us and they also manage some other Franciscan facilities," Doepker said.
"We're part of Trinity Health. It was the Sisters of Mercy out of Michigan and the Sisters of Holy Cross, in South Bend Indiana, went together to form Trinity," Cieciwa explained.
Just a month ago, St. Francis Senior Ministries announced the hiring of Dan Miller of Nevada, Ohio, as the new executive director. Doepker said Miller will be a Trinity employee operating at St. Francis. During the selection process for Hausie's replacement, Miller interviewed with Trinity and St. Francis before being chosen for the position. The new partnership will not change the status of St. Francis employees.
"They are all still our employees, and it won't affect their jobs. Hopefully, it will better things for them because they're going to have more resources for training and consultation in the various departments," Doepker said.
Cieciwa said department heads from Trinity's 32 communities get together quarterly to share "best practices" and network. Trinity is to guide St. Francis through the coming health care reform. It will be more important than ever to submit records in a timely manner for reimbursement from federal programs.
"They would help us with implementing that," Doepker said. "One of the big areas that we're going to move forward on is technology. We are behind, and we have to move toward having emergency medical records, so they are going to lay out, step by step, what we have to do to have the right infrastructure, equipment and software. Then they will bring their team of people in for about five days to train our people to operate the system."
"Technology is directly related to payment," said Cieciwa, who has been with Trinity for 15 years.
With the contract in Tiffin, Ohio is to be Trinity's fifth state. Doepker said Trinity can provide many resources to St. Francis. Assistance with centralized billing, financial management, human resources, payroll and other services should promote more efficiency.
"What we've been emphasizing at the meetings is the Sisters are still the owners and sponsors of the ministry," Doepker said.
"We are committed to the Tiffin community and the needs of area seniors," Cieciwa said. "This contract will allow us to continue doing so. It is our shared mission to preserve Catholic-based long-term care and senior housing."