Bankruptcy 'off the table' for Michigan health system

Bankruptcy is reportedly "off the table" for Iron Mountain, Mich.-based Dickinson County Healthcare System, lawyers for the system told TV6 News.

DCHS leaders motioned to begin the process of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September — roughly one week after a sale deal with Marquette, Mich.-based UP Health System fell through.

However, DCHS board members met with a law firm during a public meeting Oct. 11. After looking at the system's financials, one lawyer told TV6 News hospital officials should not be considering bankruptcy.

"[DCHS'] financials are really not that bad. There's no such thing as bankruptcy. That's totally off the table, we're not even thinking that," the lawyer said. "Do we have some bumps in the road? Yes. Can they be fixed? Yes. How quickly? We wish it was tomorrow, but it's not. It's going to be a slow, methodical process."

Community members in attendance at the Oct. 11 meeting expressed concern over pensions. However, hospital officials said the community should not worry.

"Our fine pension plan is funded at a little over 70 percent, which isn't bad," DCHS CEO and Administrator John Schon said. "In today's environment, a lot of pension plans are a lot less than 70 percent funded. We've always met our annual obligations to the pension plan, both to the employees and to the funding of that plan. That will continue to happen."

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