Wayne County, Mich., commissioners have approved the creation of a regional healthcare authority to coordinate services for the area's estimated 700,000 uninsured patients. The Detroit City Council approved the authority earlier this month. Area healthcare leaders and local and state officials have been working since April 2003 to determine the future of indigent care in southeast Michigan and address a financial crisis at 10-hospital Detroit Medical Center, the region's largest health system. DMC, which has lost more than $500 million over the past six years, has blamed some of its financial troubles on a heavy indigent-care burden. Final approval of the Detroit-Wayne County Health Authority comes before a July 1 deadline to apply for $500,000 in federal funds earmarked for the authority. State officials endorsed the creation of the authority in December 2003. Officials began exploring alternatives for indigent care in southeast Michigan after DMC last year said it would have no choice but to close two hospitals without additional public money. The system received a $50 million bailout from state and local governments. -- by Julie Piotrowski
Detroit-area health authority receives final OK
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