Merakey Announces Acquisition of Dallas-Fort Worth Pediatric Home Care Agency Small Hands, Big Hearts

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PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           

The acquisition will name Small Hands, Big Hearts Co-founder, Melissa Gutzmer Executive Director of new Merakey company.

DALLAS (August 13, 2021) – Merakey, a national nonprofit provider of developmental, behavioral health, and education services, announced today the acquisition of Dallas-Fort Worth pediatric home health agency, Small Hands, Big Hearts Pediatric Therapy Management, LLC (SHBH). Effective immediately, it will be recognized as Small Hands, Big Hearts, A Merakey Company and will continue serving clients across the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio region. SHBH co-founder, Melissa Gutzmer, will serve as Executive Director for the new organization, and will lead the transition of current staff and business operations to Merakey.

“I’m excited to welcome Small Hands, Big Hearts to the Merakey family,” said Merakey CEO Joe Martz. “The model of service that Small Hands, Big Hearts has created is centered on exceptional individualized care and has allowed them to become a trusted and reliable provider of therapeutic services for youth and their families. Together, we can continue to support the Dallas-Fort Worth region and all of Texas with the same level of care.”

Founded in 2010, SHBH provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy to children and young adults from birth to age 21 at home or at private school settings. With a diverse and bilingual (Spanish-speaking) staff, SHBH serves individuals in 19 counties in Dallas-Fort Worth and 28 counties in the San Antonio area, with an office location in Bedford, TX. Following a motto of “Helping Every Angel Reach Therapeutic Success,” SHBH has worked with more than 1,000 individuals since their opening.

“Small Hands, Big Hearts is an established provider of care for individuals in this region and we are proud to have them join Merakey,” said Merakey’s Senior Vice President of Children and Family Services Rebecca Mann. “As an organization, they have demonstrated a clear commitment to serving individuals and helping them to reach personal success with exceptional therapeutic service and compassion. With a shared focus on supporting the individual, their work is a complement to our existing services in Texas.”

“In partnering with Merakey, I knew that our children would be supported and cared for by an organization that was competent and compassionate,” said Gutzmer. “This acquisition will provide Small Hands, Big Hearts with a forever home and I’m excited that it is with Merakey.”

Merakey, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania, currently has an Autism Center in Fort Worth, TX that offers autism and behavioral health services for children and their families.

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Check out our SHBH branded PPE

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Check out this SHBH branded PPE (thank you Melissa for modeling). We also have some purple masks in a different style coming in. So for our next batch of PPE, our therapists can expect these goodies to be included.

Small Hands 10 Years Old!

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Small Hands, Big Hearts is Celebrating 10 years serving children with disabilities. We love and appreciate all those Families, Therapists, and Staff that have been part of our Journey!



Learning has never been this much fun!

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Today SHBH’s Melissa Gutzmer hosted a wonderful group of future Occupational Therapy Assistants from Dallas College Mountain View Campus for a workshop on using toys within a pediatric home health setting. Special thanks to professor Wendy H. for organizing and having such great students!


Speech Therapy during COVID-19

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Therapy during COVID-19 / Telehealth

We were all thrown for a loop when COVID 19 hit us full force.  Suddenly therapists had to recreate schedules, procedures, and therapy.  In-home providers have to wear masks, gloves, wash hands upon entry and exit, and most importantly, educate patients and family on the new procedures.

We, thankfully, also had the option to provide teletherapy services instead of putting ourselves and our patients at risk for infection.  I, personally, chose to take the teletherapy route.  At the start, I had been just doing evaluations, but until my assistants were able to provide teletherapy services, I started seeing those patients so they wouldn’t miss out on crucial services.  Slowly, I began to take on my own caseload when my assistants, thankfully, were able to provide teletherapy.

The beginning of teletherapy could have presented some challenges, as I as well as the patients and families were new to the whole thing.  Some parents had to get used to Zoom, others had to get used to staying next to their child throughout therapy when they were used to leaving the room while the therapist was over.  And of course, not all patients are ideal candidates for teletherapy, depending on their age and deficits.  I have one patient who wanted nothing to do with me over Zoom.  He would run out of the room or not look up at me while I was trying to engage.  Quickly, his mother and I switched gears.  We focus the session on her playing with him, while I facilitate and that way the pressure has been taken off of the patient.  I send follow up emails with book titles, websites, and ideas to help the mother grow his receptive and expressive language through play.  Luckily, since the pressure is off, he now engages with me throughout the session, so his mother and I take turns.

Teletherapy has been tremendous for the mother’s growth of the parent education goals.  Even in person, I have never had a parent so involved in her child’s session.  There’s a bond between therapist and patient (and family), but I felt as though COVID-19 makes the bond stronger.  Sympathy, understanding, and sensitivity are so evident in my patients’ families.  If a last minute rescheduling is needed due to illness, childcare issues, or simply being overwhelmed due to the circumstances, it’s always taken with great respect and sensitivity.  I feel like we are all in this together.  We’re doing our part and staying home, trying to make the best of situations.

Throughout all of the chaos, the office staff at Small Hands Big Hearts has been there every step of the way.  We’ve gotten encouragement and accolades, as well as support and understanding.  Their efficiency and productivity did not waver in the slightest throughout the shift, they quickly learned the ropes of obtaining authorization and consents for teletherapy, and I do not feel as though my patients suffered at all.

Shira D.
SHBH Speech Language Pathologist

I love working for SHBH. KRISTIAN R., OTA

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What do you like about working for Small Hands, Big Hearts pediatric therapy management?

I love working for Small Hands Big Hearts because they truly care about their patients.
I am so very passionate about being the best OTA I can be.  I want to provide the best possible care I can and I feel that SHBH gives me the tools I need to make that happen.

I admire SHBH’s continuous strive for success because it means the kids get the level of therapy they deserve.
All kids deserve fun, engaging, and goal driven therapy.  SHBH shares that philosophy with me.  The office staff is more than helpful and always willing to work with parents and therapists regarding scheduling to make the process as stress free as possible.
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What do you like about working for Small Hands, Big Hearts pediatric therapy management?

SMALL HANDS, BIG HEARTS has been a blessing to my life. Ever since my job interview until today, I have been treated with so much professionalism. They really do their best to provide their therapists with the resources and knowledge to carry out their jobs. Along with that, they have a very ethical reputation. I really like that their entire staff is super sweet and always helpful. Thanks to them I get to go to work and make a difference in the lives of so many sweet kiddos.
Gabriela G.
SHBH Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
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Prince’s Physical Therapy Success Story

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My name is Rachel, and I am a SHBH Physical Therapist Assistant.
I would like to introduce you to Prince*. Prince was born extremely premature at 24 weeks and only weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces. He spent the next 4 months of his life in the NICU and was diagnosed with hypotonia, anemia of prematurity, macroglossia, retinopathy of prematurity, sleep apnea, and an MRSA carrier.
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Fighting COVID-19 by sending out PPE

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With COVID-19 on our minds, our wonderful staff worked together to box up our PPE care packages today for our therapists!
Our therapist will soon get a supply of N95 respirator, disposable gloves, surgical masks, face shield, surgical gown, shoe booties, digital thermometer, alcohol wipes. So glad we can help keep our staff and families safe!

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SHBH is different from other companies. Penny L., Speech Language Pathologist

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What separates SHBH from other home health companies?

SHBH holds the highest ethical standards I have come across in 20 years of practice.
They started this company out of the love for the children they want to help.
They make decisions based on the children’s needs and not financial gain. At the same time they care about their therapists.
The owner is also a therapist and she is always available for guidance…which is always well thought out and helpful.
I have the utmost respect for all who make this company the great one it is!

Penny L.
SHBH Speech Language Pathologist

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