Shriners Hospitals for Children partners with Mary Free Bed to launch telehealth program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Michigan families will have more convenient visits with their specialists and reduced transportation costs thanks to a new collaboration between Chicago and Cincinnati Shriners Hospitals for Children and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Instead of making out-of-state trips, young patients and their families can receive consultations from physicians at the specialty hospitals in Illinois and Ohio via leading-edge telehealth technologies located at Mary Free Bed.

Patients will be scheduled for appointments with their Shriners caregivers then come to Mary Free Bed, where high-speed internet and HD cameras visually and audibly connect them. It’s similar to a sophisticated FaceTime or Skype experience with hand-held cameras providing great detail for physicians and caregivers at the Shriners Hospitals. In addition, medical information is transmitted electronically to the consulting provider in real time.

Shriners Hospitals for Children specialize in treating orthopedic disorders, cleft lip and palate, spinal cord injuries, burns and soft tissue conditions.

“We’re committed to serving patients and families with more convenient and flexible care,” said Mark Niederpruem, administrator at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago. “Mary Free Bed provides outstanding rehabilitation for children, and we’re pleased to be collectively agile using the latest health-care delivery modality.”

Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle is equally pleased with the partnership.

“It’s our privilege to work with the Shriners to make life less complicated for these kids and their families, who have already endured so much.” Riddle said. “We’ve been using telehealth for innovative patient appointments throughout the Midwest and are delighted to collaborate with Shriners experts as they deliver their specialized treatment.”

Shriners Hospitals for Children and Mary Free Bed Telehealth Program
Fact Sheet

In the midst of a serious illness or injury, geography no longer is an obstacle. Telehealth enables specialists in a distant location to share their expertise with patients and caregivers at another site. The latest technology enables secure transmission of video, voice and medical information. Miles are erased.

Benefits for patients and their families

  • Patients aren’t faced with long and often costly visits to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago and Cincinnati for specialized care
  • Improves quality of life
  • Enables consistent treatment team

Shriners Hospitals for Children
The primary mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children is to help children who need specialized medical care wherever they may live. Although our locations are primarily in North America, the compassionate health care system has treated children from more than 150 countries and conducts more than 100 medical outreach clinics outside the United States every year. Highly-skilled medical teams treat children with complex health care needs, including neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burns and spinal cord injuries. To learn more, visit

The partnership with Mary Free Bed helps local Saladin Shriners to connect local families with the highly specialized care they need, while helping them save money on transportation costs. The local Shriners raise funds year-round to provide transportation – via their own purchased vehicles with volunteer drivers – to families who would otherwise not be able to afford the trip. It’s a cornerstone of the local Shriners’ purpose to connect children who need the specialized treatment with the wrap-around care of Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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