DCHS stays in the black

Application for federal loan may be ready by mid-July

IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County Healthcare System continues to show improved financial stability as officials prepare to apply for a long-term federal loan.

The hospital board reviewed a report Thursday showing operating income of $597,722 in April — the fifth straight month of profitability after losses of about $21 million over the previous three years.

April’s results came “despite lower than expected (patient) volumes,” said Trustee Jeff Campbell, who chairs the finance committee.

Interim CEO Jeanne Goche said no layoffs are planned in the months ahead as DCHS moves closer to deciding “what our future is going to be.”

Former northern Michigan congressman Bart Stupak is leading an effort to obtain $30 million or more in financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency. Stupak is a partner in Venable LLP, a Washington D.C. firm hired seven months ago after the community hospital veered toward bankruptcy.

The target date for a USDA application is mid-July.

County Commissioner Joe Stevens, a liaison to the hospital board, said the county is “super-pleased as to the progress” shown by DCHS.

April’s performance brought the year-to-date gain in operating income to $1.33 million. After the calculation of non-operating revenue and expenses, the year-to-date bottom line is a positive $1,022,903.

In other action, the hospital board:

— Hear Goche report that a third party is finalizing a pension document with a question-and-answer session to be scheduled for employees and retirees this summer. DCHS closed its defined pension benefit plan last year to help facilitate a sale that later fell through. The hospital has since adopted a defined contribution, or 401(k), pension plan, but confusion remains over rules and levels of benefits in the former plan. “We inherited what it is and we’re sorting it all back again,” said Trustee David Brisson in response to several questions from frustrated employees.

— A review of patient activity for April showed that DCHS cared for 179 inpatients and 13,497 patients in the outpatient hospital setting, including 915 in the emergency department. There were 9,672 patients in physician offices. Uncompensated care for the month totaled $792,588.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-3500 ext. 26 or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.