Health Care at Home — Dickinson County Memorial Hospital

Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain is a primary and secondary facility with 96 beds.

It has more than 800 employees, about 85 of whom are physicians.

The Michigan Hospital Association measures its local economic impact at about $200 million per year.

But the Wisconsin state line is just south of Iron Mountain.

On the Michigan side of the border, Marquette General and OSF St. Francis in Escanaba are among the other hospitals within reasonable driving distance.

Schon says the hospital could have as much as another $100 million in economic impact if it could retain more patients that are leaving the area for care.

CEO John Schon says patients are loyal and want to support local health care if they can.

But a lack of access to care can often prevent that.

In an attempt to remove the barrier, the health care system is aggressively adding services.

One of the newest additions is a hospitalist service, a group of physicians who specialize in inpatient care and only treat patients who are admitted.

Schon says the hospitalists are attracting rave reviews — he says he’s received more positive feedback about the hospitalists than about any other service they offer.

And they’re also retaining many patients who would otherwise be transferred elsewhere, especially from the emergency room.

He says transfers out of the emergency room are down 80% from what they were a year ago.

The hospital has another expansion of service on tap for the end of March or early April — hyperbaric medicine and improved wound care.

Schon also says there’s more area demand for orthopedic care than Dickinson County Memorial can currently meet.

And it intends to address that a little further down the road with an expansion.

In December, the health care system obtained a low–interest $9 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for that addition.

Groundbreaking should be sometime this spring.

Posted by: Mike Hoey