Management has been diligent
For the past few months I’ve watched as candidates for local political office have tried to use the situation with our hospital for political advantage. The fact is that Michigan Public Act 230, which governs the relationship between the county board and the hospital, specifically limits the county board’s governance of the hospital to avoid the hospital operations from becoming political.
Our hospital, like most small hospitals nationwide, is experiencing financial stress due to utilization and reimbursement. In our case we have an aggressive competitor that is trying to increase their market share at the expense of our local health care system and economy, and have experienced reductions in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.
In addition, the dominant private health care insurer in our state pays DCHS on average 30 percent less than other hospitals in the U.P. for like service. Finally, high deductible health plans discourage hospital utilization and increase bad debt.
Hospital management has been diligent in reducing overhead to this point without reducing services, but will be facing increasingly difficult options. DCHS is currently undergoing a feasibility study to determine the best way to maintain our health care system long term.
The county board may ultimately be asked to decide whether our hospital can continue as an independent hospital, or if a financial partner is needed to insure our long term viability.
Please vote on Nov. 6, and consider carefully who you want making these decisions.