DeWitt’s Westwing Place is under new management.
A joint venture between Genesis Health Systems and Johnston-based Wesley Life called WellSpire will take over management of the nursing home.
The merger includes a 60-40 split, with three Wesley Life representatives taking a majority interest on the company’s five-person board of directors. WellSpire will oversee all senior living facilities in the Genesis Health Systems footprint.
The new company assumed its ownership of Westwing Place July 1. Jay Willsher, regional executive director at WellSpire, said residents of the 77-bed facility can expect to receive the same services to which they’ve become accustomed.
“What’s going on [at Westwing] has been excellent,” Willsher said. “The real change will occur with the facility. We could begin planning that early next year.”
“This is a big merger, and there’s been some big mergers in health care recently,” said Wesley Life CEO Rob Kretzinger. “And I want to say it’s important that culture and values come together.”
Robin Krogman, director of the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation, said she and the board have desired a partnership with a company like Wesley Life for quite a while.
“Our foundation, since I started over three years ago … definitely wanted to see extended senior housing here in DeWitt,” she said. “While we support Westwing, [the board] was looking to the future of what we might need in DeWitt. The board is interested in both assisted and independent living in DeWitt.”
“We are so glad to be here,” WesleyLife CEO Rob Kretzinger said at an introductory event last week. “Being in DeWitt is fantastic. I’ve met so many fantastic people here. The employees who work here at Westwing are some of the best we’ve met. They feel like WesleyLife team members. They may not know what that means, but it gives us a nice warm feeling.”
WellSpire plans to bring a community-based living environment to Westwing. Willsher said the goal is to begin planning for a new facility at the turn of the year.
WellSpire will break ground on a new older-adult community in Bettendorf this fall. That facility along E. 53rd will include multiple layers of service including independent living, assisted living and a health center, which includes both short- and long-term nursing home services.
Planning for the DeWitt facility, he said, could begin once the Bettendorf project is “out of the ground.”
Willsher said a WellSpire property will offer a new kind of living for seniors.
“It will bring a whole different culture of senior living,” he said “It’s around lifestyle. It’s around the celebration of the second part of your life, so there will be more opportunities [including] culinary options and activities. We will have more shared spaces.”
Willsher confirmed WesleyLife is contracted with all three Medicaid managed-care organizations in Iowa and is An Accountable Care Organization (ACO) preferred provider.