It’s “OSF IPMR” as blessing ceremony links health providers

With prayers that God will bless all who come for care and those who serve them, the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was officially welcomed into OSF Healthcare System during blessing and dedication ceremonies in Peoria on Oct. 1.

The 21 service locations and eight outpatient clinics will now be known as OSF IPMR. The affiliation followed five months of study and discussion.

“God has brought us into one family for a reason, a wonderful reason,” said Sister M. Mikela Meidl, OSF HealthCare’s executive vice president, during the early morning ceremonies at OSF IPMR’s facilities at 6501 N. Sheridan Road.
She told dozens of employees and guests that the two organizations share a rich heritage of caring for the health care needs in the community and surrounding region, and now have “a sacred opportunity to serve God’s people through our services.”

Rick Zehr, president of OSF IPMR, traced the 65-year history of IPMR, which was founded post-World War II to improve function and quality of life for injured veterans as well as all who had suffered strokes or were stricken with polio. It grew to be one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation facilities in the nation.

Changes in health care make it challenging to remain independent, and when IPMR looked for partners, it found “a perfect match” in OSF, the system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

The two share similar missions, said Zehr, and the new collaboration will allow expanded services and foster new research to benefit patients. He also noted that IPMR was founded in the Forest Park building on the campus of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, so “in a lot of ways this is like coming back home.”

Father Edward Kopec, a chaplain at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, blessed the two buildings at the Sheridan Road location as representative of all area locations and clinics. Reflecting on another “new chapter” in OSF history,
Father Kopec said the religious community’s founding Sisters could not have imagined the number of lives their mission would eventually impact and that the new partnership adds to that legacy of service.

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