DCHS steers away from bankruptcy

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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - Some positive news came out of Dickinson County Healthcare System in a public meeting Thursday. The board met with lawyers from Venable Law Firm to look over their books, they're now saying the hospitals finances aren't that bad.

"We expected bad financials. They're not that bad,” Lawyer Bart Stupak told TV6 News. “Your assets are greater than your liabilities, your notes payable are all up to date. 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."

While this is good news, the public still has some questions. The concern about pensions was high among Thursday's crowd, but hospital officials say they have nothing to worry about because pensions are one of their top priorities.

"Our fine pension plan is funded at a little over 70 percent, which isn't bad,” CEO 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."

Some people also skeptical about Venable's ability to move DCHS forward. But the lawyers say while the hospital is bigger than many of their past projects, their finances are in better shape.

"Your long term debt is not as bad as many of them that we've seen,” Stupak said. “So that's what I mean, your financials are not that bad. 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."

The lawyers are now heading back to Washington, D.C. where they will weigh the hospital's options on what to do next. They are planning on being back on October 22nd for another public meeting.

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