DCHS shares restructuring update, announces Wausaukee Clinic closure


IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) – In an effort to keep the community informed of the changes being made within the organization, Dickinson County Healthcare System (DCHS) shared a restructuring update Friday morning.

According to a DCHS press release, interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jeanne Goche and Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO), Dennis Smith, have been busy with their analysis and study of the DCHS operating policies and procedures. Specifically, they are identifying areas of financial concern and implementing improvements to help reduce the threatening cash shortages.

Below is a list of “what is happening” at DCHS, as written by the hospital:

• The Berkley Research Group (BRG) was hired by DCHS to conduct a feasibility study. After they delivered their preliminary findings, it was decided by the Interim CEO – Jeanne Goche, the CRO – Dennis Smith, Bart Stupak, and the DCHS Hospital Board of Trustees that further BRG services were not needed as they would be redundant with what the new leadership team was hired to do. The contract with BRG was terminated and the fee paid was below the initially agreed upon price.

• Venable LLP partner, Bart Stupak, is pursuing several potential opportunities to help DCHS with its short-term and long-term debt obligations, as well as searching for a short-term cash solution. More to come on Mr. Stupak’s efforts.

• Earlier this month, the Hospital Board of Trustees voted and approved Ms. Goche’s recommendation of adding Ms. Connie Dudding to the DCHS team, temporarily. Ms. Dudding’s areas of focus include: patient accounting, billing and coding, collections and physician accounting. Ms. Dudding has already identified that shortening the DCHS bill drop time by two days is projected to improve the cash on hand. Ms. Dudding is working closely with the DCHS Revenue Cycle staff to identify more changes that will positively impact revenues.
Marie Debs was appointed as the Interim Chief Human Resources Officer. Ms. Debs has already begun her role to fill the void vacated by the former Human Resources (HR) Manager, Paula Swartout, who recently resigned. A free-lance consultant based out of Detroit, MI, Ms. Debs has extensive experience in healthcare administration and interim management, and she has earned an M.B.A. in Finance. In addition to her Human Resources (HR) leadership, Ms. Debs is a seasoned healthcare executive who will lend additional support in reviewing and analyzing the Revenue Cycle, assisting with Physician Contract negotiations, and contributing to the overall implementation of the Restructuring Plan.

Interim CEO, Jeanne Goche commented, “I have worked with both Connie and Marie in the past; I wholeheartedly trust their decision making and I know they bring the needed skills to the table. The financial situation at DCHS is dire and I am forced to pull out all the stops, including bringing in the experts that possess the knowledge and experience needed to improve our financial situation.”

• Steven Wiles, MD, will begin seeing patients January 2, 2019, in the Dickinson Pediatric Clinic. Dr. Wiles joins Samantha Harrison, FNP, and Christine Borgstrom, FNP, as the Pediatric Clinic continues to provide top quality care to the families in the community.

• Dr. Ray Cameron announced that as of March 1, 2019, he will be retiring from the Dickinson Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic. Dr. Cameron has been an esteemed member of the Medical Staff for 30 years and he will be greatly missed by patients and colleagues alike. Audiologist, Jeff Hutchinson has also tendered his resignation from the Dickinson Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic effective March 1, 2019. DCHS thanks them both for their service and wishes them well in their future endeavors.

• As a result of rising costs and unsustainable volumes, DCHS is regrettably ceasing operations at the Wausaukee Clinic located in Wausaukee, WI. Effective no later than January 31, 2019, DCHS will no longer be providing healthcare services at this site. All patients will receive a formal letter outlining the decision and communicating other health care options. More details to follow.

• DCHS just passed a rigorous inspection from the Joint Commission. Over the past few days, a representative from the Joint Commission was onsite at DCHS performing a follow up survey. The surveyor toured specific hospital departments to address findings from their initial survey that was performed in October. DCHS is glad to say that the surveyor did not find any issues with what was presented and all Hospital on-site action plans were accepted and verified by the surveyor. The physician clinics were also reviewed and they passed with flying colors as all action plans were accepted and verified by the surveyor. The surveyor also reviewed the DCHS Medical Staff credentialing processes, as well as the charting procedure for pain management. Again, all went well.

DCHS says now is a time for encouragement as the hospital has begun making the changes necessary to favorably adjust to a “new” healthcare environment. As DCHS continues to adapt, modify, and make difficult decisions, the hospital says the community’s support and understanding is essential to the future success of the organization. DCHS has provided health care in the area for more than 66 years and looks forward to many more years of Doing, Caring and Helping! Thank you for your support.

DCHS will continue to provide updates on a regular basis and as new developments occur.

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