The decision to merge with Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana was not made in haste. Although the public announcement was made in December of 2020, the Passages board of directors had been listening to and researching the opportunity for months.
Paula Langeloh, registered nurse with Optum Health, serves as the chairwoman of the Passages board of directors. She said the board has discussed for many years how to improve and expand services to a greater population in Whitley County.
“After weighing our options and learning more about Easterseals Arc, we believed we could bring and offer more services to a broader population,” Langeloh said. “We have talked about all these things as the board for years, but we haven’t been able to accomplish them alone.”
When considering whether or not to take the leap into the merger, the board looked at two primary aspects: First, would the merger benefit the individuals we serve? And second, would our staff benefit from this merger? The answers to both of these questions was a unanimous “yes” from the board.
“As a board, we were looking for ways to continue providing services our clients and prospective new clients are used to (and more!) with a nearly seamless transition,” Deb Roy, vice president and branch manager at Crossroads Bank and Passages board treasurer said. “We believe the additional resources and staff will only make our organization stronger. Easterseals Arc has a great reputation and being able to join forces is great for all involved.”
Direct Support Professionals make up more than 75% of all Passages employees. Their job is to take care of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities each and every day. The pay rate for DSPs is largely limited by the state’s reimbursement rates for Medicaid Waiver services. The merger with Easterseals Arc will allow the DSPs of Passages to be paid at a more competitive rate due to expanded resources.
David Smith, market president at STAR Financial and vice chairperson of our board of directors, said one of the challenges in our field is appropriately compensating staff. Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana is one of the leading pay providers for DSPs in Indiana.
As we look ahead to the future, we remember our heritage. We are committed to serving Whitley County. We are committed to the employees that work so hard to care for our consumers. And, we are committed to passionately lead or assist people with disabilities into a thriving and meaningful life.