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Local InterestCentraCare Experiences Unprecedented Growth – Announces Expansion GoalsBY TIM MITCHELL, Fund Development Coordinator, CentraCareCentraCaremayverywellbeoneof the fastest growing organizations in our region. Over the course of the last 21 months they have experienced an overall growth of nearly 50% and now employ 180 people. Their Battle Creek center has shown an increase of 35% and the Kalamazoo center grew by 71% over this same period of time. According to Laura Ferrara, CentraCare’s Chief Strat- egy Officer, “The growth we’ve experi- enced in the last 21 months has been un- precedented in the 10 year history of our organization. As we develop relation- ships within the community and as more and more people hear about us, those numbers continue to increase. We have become known for the excellent care we provide to our participants.”With a stated mission “to deliver ex- ceptional, comprehensive healthcare for frail older adults,” CentraCare has served nearly 800 seniors over the past decade and has become a leading organization for the frail elderly in Calhoun, Kalam- azoo, and eastern Van Buren counties. Delivering all needed medical and sup- portive services, CentraCare’s PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the El- derly) program provides an entire contin- uum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while enabling them to maintain their independence in their home for as long as possible. CentraCare also provides and coordinates all acute, post-acute, outpatient, and home and community based services that address the individual’s chronic medical needs as well as the social determinants of health.Care is provided by a collaborative interdisciplinary team of health care pro- fessionals made up of medical doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physical therapists, oc- cupational therapists, recreational thera- pists, social workers, chaplains, CNA’s, and home care workers. This team col- laboratively establishes an individual- ized plan of care for each participant and meets daily to adjust the care plan as needed. Many services are provided under one roof and transportation to and from the center is provided.CentraCare’s CEO, Alexandria Lueth, stated, “Because the coordinated care that CentraCare provides on a day to daybasishasbecomeroutinetome,Ihavea tendency to forget this is not the typical care all frail elderly individuals receive. I was reminded of this in a recent focus group made up of some of our partici- pants and caregivers when I heard com- ments like, ‘CentraCare is a motivator to keep living’ and ‘I would be in a nurs- ing home without CentraCare.’ I like to call what we do, ‘The CentraCare Dif- ference,’ because we are making a sig- nificant difference in the lives of people within our community.”The community impact has been so great, CentraCare’s Board of Directors has recently approved plans to open a third center in Portage. Ferrara said, “We are nearing capacity at both of our current centers and to accommodate this growth, we will be opening a center on Milham Avenue in Portage. It’s a beau- tiful building in a very nice setting and we anticipate renovation to begin in July with a planned opening date in early January.”That’s not all that’s on the radar of this fast moving non-profit organization. Ferrara also revealed, “Our long term goal is to be serving 3,000 people by the end of our fiscal year 2026. Not all those served will be PACE participants, but it will be a combination of PACE partici- pants as well as helping people that may not yet qualify for the PACE program.” The current PACE program now servesLaura Ferrara, Chief Strategy Officerover 400 participants between two centers and within the next two years they plan to be serving well over 600 PACE members and 100 non-PACE members at four locations. They are also in the process of expanding the geographic area they can serve under the PACE pro- gram. However, specific details of these plans are still being processed.“We are currently working with other stakeholders on other potential expan- sion opportunities,” Ferrara mentioned. She added, “These are very busy times, but some very exciting things are tak- ing place. We are very glad to be able to expand the great services we provide so that we can reach out to more seniors within the communities we serve and also have a presence in some more rural communities where seniors are under- served.”To follow the progress of CentraCare, or to learn more about them, you may visit their website at www.mycentra- or follow them on Facebook at You may also call them at (269) 441-9319.

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