Mercy Hospital will close
Mounting losses force decision;
east-side health care is jeopardized
December 16, 1999
BY SHERYL KENNEDY
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Mercy Hospital could close as early as January,
officials said, finally surrendering to mounting
multimillion-dollar losses, leaving 1,300 employees
without jobs and jeopardizing access to health
care on Detroit's east side.
Officials from the hospital and Mercy Health
Services Inc., the Farmington Hills-based
company that owns the facility, will meet today
with other health systems such as Henry Ford
Health System and the Detroit Medical Center to
devise an 11th-hour plan to keep the hospital
open in some form.
But all indicators suggest that the hospital will
close and possibly reopen providing some sort of
limited community outreach services.
"It's been a very difficult decision for us," said
Stephen Shivinsky, associate vice president for
corporate communications for Mercy Health
Mercy Health Services plans to continue the
Catholic-sponsored ministry in Detroit by giving
$2 million annually to help people in the
low-income community have access to care.
About 80 percent of Mercy's patient population
relies on Medicare, Medicaid and other
government-sponsored insurance programs. With
the recent cuts in those programs, the financial
pressure has become too great for the hospital to
withstand, Shivinsky said.
He said the hospital has been losing $2 million
Since July, Mercy reduced its staff by 185
full-time employees and restructured hospital
programs to stay afloat.
Meetings have been scheduled throughout the day
today to discuss the closure with employees.
Management will try to place employees in other
jobs within the system, but there are no
guarantees, said Sister Linda Werthman, president
of regional community leadership for the Sisters of
Mercy's Detroit community.
"We have colleagues at Mercy who have worked
extremely hard under very difficult conditions," she
said. "It's like saying to family that your services
may or may not be used in other parts of the
SHERYL KENNEDY can be reached at
313-222-8762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.