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DCH joins the Marshfield Clinic | News, Sports, Jobs

Dickinson County Memorial Hospital is pictured. (Photo from Iron Mountain Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN – An affiliation agreement has been reached that makes Dickinson County Health System part of the Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic Health System, paving the way for a $26 million capital commitment by Marshfield over the next five years, including the construction of a new cancer center in Iron Mountain.

“The future of healthcare for our community and region is now better and safer than ever,” DCH CEO Chuck Nelson said in a press release Thursday announcing the deal is in place. “We will take local and regional health care to even higher levels of quality and accessibility by expanding local services, providers and locations. »

DCH and Marshfield Clinic signed a definitive agreement in January, which received unanimous approval from the DCH Board of Directors.

Marshfield will begin integrating its operational care and support system across all of Dickinson’s hospitals and clinics, Nelson said. The process will take several months.

The agreement creates a regional hub for the nonprofit Marshfield in the Upper Peninsula. Emphasis will be on expanding locally provided outpatient surgeries, supporting DCH’s pediatric team at Marshfield Children’s Hospital, and growing DCH’s team of primary care providers. The integration of the Marshfield Clinic team and resources will also improve emergency services.

Hospital and clinic names and branding will be announced in the coming months when the incorporation process is complete.

Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, said it was crucial that rural areas such as Dickinson County have local access to quality health care.

“Our integrated approach allows us to deliver the full continuum of health care and services to communities that really need it,” said Turny. “Patients and rural residents deserve access to excellent care when, how and where they want it, and we’re proud to deliver on that promise to the Upper Peninsula. »

The new cancer center will bring a full range of oncology services to the region. The center will build on DCH’s previous multimillion-dollar capital expenditures, including a highly advanced linear accelerator. The center will provide radiotherapy and nuclear medicine technologies for cancer diagnosis and allow patients to receive treatment closer to home.

Thursday’s press release did not disclose financial details of the closing. Officials have previously confirmed that there will be no liability for Dickinson County going forward. Under the agreement, operations of the hospital facilities will be outsourced to Marshfield, with input and oversight from a local advisory board.

In a memo to the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners, which authorized the Marshfield affiliation on December 6, DCH attorney Michael Cellello summarized some key issues:

≤ For the first three years following closure, any workforce reductions must be approved by the local advisory board. The board will consist of five to seven members, including some current hospital board members, a Marshfield representative, a physician and one or two local business or community leaders. DCH employees will transition to become Marshfield employees.

≤ The advisory council, for a period of 10 years, must approve any decision to interrupt or substantially reduce any range of basic services or the closure of a medical practice. The board will also be responsible for overseeing the operational functions and financial performance of the hospital as well as developing strategic and other business plans.

≤ The Dickinson Hospital Foundation will receive $1 million over five years while also serving as “executor” of the affiliation contract. A subcommittee of the foundation will be tasked with ensuring Marshfield meets its $26 million capital commitment and related pledges. The subcommittee will be made up of the chief administrator of the new operation – likely Nelson – and several current members of the hospital’s board of directors.

≤ Marshfield assumes responsibility for pension funding. No dollar amounts were disclosed, but when a sale of DCH to Bellin Health of Green Bay, Wisconsin was proposed in March 2018, approximately $40 million of the planned acquisition was to be used to complete the DCH Pension Plan. Two months later, however, Bellin terminated the deal.

Administrators of the Marshfield and DCH health systems said Thursday they were optimistic about the future of health care in the region.

“As the only physician-led healthcare organization in UP, Marshfield Clinic Health System is uniquely positioned to help lead discussions that benefit the well-being of the Upper Peninsula as a whole,” said Nelson. “It’s an exciting time.”

Operating a 49-bed general medical and surgical hospital in Iron Mountain, DCH has more than 70 physicians and 700 employees. It provides a wide range of acute care including inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic and specialist services. It also has primary care clinics in Iron Mountain, Kingsford, Norway and Bark River as well as Florence, Wis.

DCH operated as a Michigan municipal healthcare facility corporation under Public Law 230. According to attorney Celello, once Marshfield’s agreement is reached, PA 230 will no longer apply.

The first Dickinson County Memorial Hospital opened in 1951 on Woodward Avenue in Iron Mountain. The hospital has received no taxpayer support since moving to its current facility on US 2 in 1996.

Marshfield Clinic was incorporated under Wisconsin law in 1916 and operates as a charitable corporation with all of its assets held in a charitable trust. It is one of the few large, independent, not-for-profit medical clinics in the United States. It has more than 1,400 providers, including 170 specialties, a health plan, and research and education programs. Major operations include Marshfield Clinic, nine Marshfield Medical Center hospitals, Marshfield Children’s Hospital, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Security Health Plan and Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation.

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