Ten-hospital Detroit Medical Center said it will consolidate adult acute-care services provided at its downtown Detroit campuses, eliminate 1,000 jobs among its 13,000-member workforce and reduce by 2,500 the number of deliveries at Hutzel Women's Hospital. The cost-cutting moves will save the system about $40 million through Dec. 31, and DMC President and CEO Arthur Porter set Dec. 31 as a deadline for public officials to come up with a regional plan to coordinate care for the area's uninsured. If help comes, the system will reassess the cost-cutting moves; if not, further cuts are likely and include the possible closure of a downtown hospital, Porter said. "What happens if nobody comes to the table?" he said. "We will not let DMC run out of money." Porter said he's encouraged by the apparent progress being made in talks with city, county, state and federal officials. DMC provided more than $130 million in uncompensated care to uninsured patients in 2002, Porter said. The system has lost nearly $400 million over the past five years.
As part of the restructuring, Detroit Receiving Hospital will provide emergency and trauma services only, transferring patients who require other services within the DMC system. Hutzel will handle only the highest-risk deliveries, although Porter said other DMC hospitals are likely to pick up the cases that previously would have been treated at Hutzel. DMC will continue to work with various government officials to increase the number of federally qualified community health centers in Detroit and gain reimbursement for the system from state bioterrorism funding, Porter said. He also said he would consider transferring Detroit Receiving to a local government as a public hospital. "We've cut all the fat from our end," Porter said. "At the end of the day, there needs to be some public support of this public mission." Porter announced in February that service cuts and possible hospital closures would occur unless the system achieved significant cost savings and obtained more revenue. -- by Mark Taylor