Administrator brings a ‘passion for health care’

Nelson greets staff, sets goals at DCHS

Don Dumke shakes hands with Chuck Nelson, the new CEO at Dickinson County Healthcare System, during a meet and greet for employees Tuesday. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Chuck Nelson, the new CEO at Dickinson County Healthcare System, plans to lead a “focus forward” as the hospital continues to rebound from financial trouble.

At a meet and greet for hospital employees Tuesday, Nelson emphasized the importance of getting to know the staff and developing strong relationships.

Starting a conversation with the community will come next.

“We want to know what we’re doing well and what needs to improve,” he said.

Nelson came to DCHS after working the past year as president and managing partner of Xeratec, an information technology company in Hancock. Previously, he spent six years as Upper Peninsula regional CEO for Aspirus and nine years leading Keweenaw Memorial Medical Center in Laurium.

The return to his former field comes with “a passion for health care,” he said, a readiness to take on the task of delivering vital services while preserving an economic anchor.

“We are relentless to always deliver high quality health care in the most efficient, effective ways possible,” he shared in a Focus Forward initiative on display at the reception.

Nelson said he’s optimistic about the hospital’s chances to secure a $25.65 million federal loan to further stabilize its finances. The need for that assistance didn’t dissuade him from taking over at DCHS, he said.

“Health care facilities are challenged all across the country,” he said. “Finances are universally a problem.”

Through the first nine months of 2019, the hospital is showing operating income of nearly $1.7 million. That follows losses totaling roughly $21 million over the previous three years.

In looking to the future, DCHS is prepared to explore any number of choices and partnerships, Nelson said.

“There’s nothing like health care,” he added. “You don’t always find that reward in many professions.”

To that end, a stated goal is to continue being recognized nationally for excellent health care year after year, he said.

Nelson has expressed admiration for the perseverance and dedication of the DCHS staff in maintaining quality care through its budget strife.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-2772 ext. 226 or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.