In an indication of potential change in the 20-year relationship between Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University, the dean of the university's medical school has resigned from the health system's board. Wayne State has an $88 million contract to provide DMC with physicians and graduate medical education, and the system may attempt to renegotiate the contract as one step in reversing its financial decline. In a letter to medical school faculty, medical school Dean John Crissman said he had repeatedly expressed the university's commitment to the health system; however, other board members and the system administration had seen his membership as a potential conflict of interest. "Without the ability to participate as a full voting member, bringing the resources of the university and our faculty to the table, I felt it was in the best interest of both institutions to tender my resignation," Crissman said in the letter.
DMC has lost $400 million over the past five years, partly because of a growing volume of uncompensated care and declining Medicaid reimbursement. In February, DMC President and CEO Arthur Porter said the system must reduce costs and raise revenue or consider cutting services and closing one or more of its hospitals. The system is expected to announce the results of its efforts later this week. In a written statement, a spokeswoman said the system "understands the decision made by the university in light of the significant contract the DMC has with the university." -- by Mark Taylor