County OKs three of four hospital nominees

IRON MOUNTAIN — Three hospital trustee appointments were accepted and one was rejected Wednesday by the Dickinson County Board.

Named to four-year terms on the Dickinson County Healthcare System Board of Trustees were newcomers Kim Van Osdol and Dan Wender, along with current member David Holmes.

In a 4-1 vote, the county board rejected the nomination of current member Dale Ward for a one-year term. Only Chairman Henry Wender supported Ward’s reappointment.

Commissioner John Degenaer Jr., meanwhile, cast the only no vote for Holmes.

Bill Edberg, chairman of the nine-member hospital board, said nine candidates were interviewed and the nominations were unanimous. He said it takes considerable time for new members to get up to speed on the board’s duties.

Degenaer said he opposed both Ward and Holmes because they allowed the contract of CEO John Schon to be renewed for six years in January 2018, even as the hospital faced a financial crisis.

Schon has since accepted a retirement agreement and the hospital is working toward a restructuring under the direction of Venable LLP attorney Bart Stupak, interim CEO Jeanne Goche and restructuring officer Dennis Smith. Edberg said the board and administrative team are striving to see that DCHS survives. More than 90 community hospitals have closed nationwide since 2010, he said.

There was no opposition to the appointments of Van Osdol and Wender, who will take seats formerly held by Brock Wallis and Dick Berlinski. Henry Wender abstained on Dan Wender, who is his nephew.

A manager at Eagle Tool Co., Dan Wender served on the county board and was a liaison to the hospital board when plans were launched in the 1990s for DCHS’s current facility on U.S. 2. Van Osdol is a bank executive who previously served on the board for Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, Wis.

(For more, see Wednesday’s edition of The Daily News.)