CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — A health care system plans to go before a bankruptcy judge to reopen the emergency department and other outpatient services at a closed northern Michigan hospital.
Flint-based McLaren Health Care Corp. already has reached an agreement with the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services — the first step in reopening portions of Cheboygan Memorial, said McLaren spokesman Kevin Tompkins.
The hospital closed unexpectedly April 3 after a sale to McLaren fell through over issues with the federal government involving licensing and certification for Medicare and Medicaid services.
"After weeks of working closely with our good friends at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, we've reached an administrative resolution that is going to allow us to go in and reopen the emergency department, the outpatient surgical facility and other departments that support those operations," Tompkins told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Tompkins said no date has been set for the reopening of the emergency department and outpatient operations.
With a staff of 400, the hospital was Cheboygan County's largest employer. It announced in March that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after losing more than $7 million last year.
Hospital officials had proposed an expedited sale to McLaren that would have kept the facility open. After the sale was blocked, the hospital's board voted to close the facility, a move that many in the lakefront community about 235 miles north of Detroit found hard to accept.
The Michigan Nurses Association held a rally Monday outside the hospital to support reopening the facility, which had 25 beds for regular patients and a 50-bed long-term care unit. Tompkins said the closest hospital with an emergency room is about 30 miles away in Petoskey.
If given the go-ahead by the bankruptcy judge, the reopening process would begin immediately, Tompkins said.
"We have to get people rehired. A lot of work has to be done to restart and reopen a facility," he said. That work includes inspections and licenses for basic building operations, like a boiler room.
McLaren already has hired a number of doctors that had been employed by Cheboygan Memorial.
"We wanted to make sure they did not leave the community," Tompkins said. "We have their practices up and operating."