Bellin Health Care Systems, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Dickinson County Healthcare System signs Letter of Intent to be acquired by Bellin Health

Dickinson County Healthcare System (DCHS) today announced that its board of directors has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Bellin Health to explore the possibility of being acquired by Bellin.

By joining forces with Bellin, DCHS will be able to fund improvements and expand its services that will enhance its ability to meet the needs of patients, while maintaining its strong local culture. The two entities have a long history of collaboration and both organizations are looking forward to full integration for the benefit of the community.

“We have a commitment to keeping high quality health care local,” explained John Schon, Administrator and CEO of DCHS. “In today’s highly challenging and highly regulated health care environment, that requires access to capital and other resources including highly trained medical personnel and technology. A small system like ours can benefit from the human and financial resources of a larger partner, especially a proven innovator like Bellin. In addition, Bellin knows our market, our patients and our local population and we know them. The combined resources, including the talented physicians and employees of both organizations, will help us thrive not only today but for years to come.

Schon went on to praise Bellin’s proven expertise, pointing out the many awards and recognition Bellin has received for quality, cost, innovation and the workplace, including:

  • Named a 5-Star recipient from Healthgrades in 11 different categories including hip fracture treatment and stroke treatment. And, for 9 years in a row, Bellin has been a 5-Star recipient for treatment of heart attacks
  • Named a Top Urban Hospital in 2015 and 2016 by the Leapfrog Group
  • Recognized by United Healthcare as a having a top workplace wellness program
  • And Forbes named Bellin as one of the best, midsize employers

Schon added, “It makes sense from a culture, quality and financial viewpoint to join forces with Bellin and continue our history of providing high quality local health care to the community.

Bellin Health President and CEO, George Kerwin, said, “We value our relationship with Dickinson County Healthcare System and the people living in the region. We have been a part of this community, providing health care services and working collaboratively with DCHS, for some 35 years, starting with cardiology services.” Through the years, Bellin has continued to expand and enhance the availability of services including cardiology, primary care, dermatology, orthopedics, behavioral health and neurology. The collaboration also occurred operationally, with Bellin and DCHS sharing expertise in areas including maximizing supply chain management opportunities, lab and diagnostics, payment analysis, referral strategies, HR recruitment, staff training and strategic planning.

In past three years alone, Bellin has served more than 13,000 area residents, which is nearly half of Dickinson County’s population. “We are excited about formally joining forces with Dickinson and providing fully integrated primary and specialty care in this region,” stated Kerwin.
“Our systems share a driving commitment to doing what is right for our patients and our communities and it is reflected in the many national accolades Dickinson has received in recent years.”  Among the DCHS awards Kerwin pointed out:

  • Health Grades / Patient Safety Award: DCHS has been the recipient of the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award™ 3 years in a Row (2014-2017) and named among the Top 5% in Nation for Patient Safety in (2016-2017)
  • Attained an “A” rating from the Leapfrog Group. The Leapfrog Group recognized Dickinson County Healthcare System with a Patient Safety Grade of “A” for the tenth consecutive reporting period, which translates into 5 years of this highest ranking.
  • Recognized by the Economic Alliance of Michigan (EAM) with their Excellence in Patient Safety Award for consistently providing safe healthcare according to the standards set forth by the Leapfrog Group.

The LOI means the two entities will now work toward an agreement for Bellin to acquire the assets of DCHS. Although the details of the LOI have not been announced, in general, the key points are:

  • Bellin has a commitment to providing and expanding healthcare services in the region
  • Bellin will make major financial investments in capital expenditures, including the conversion to an electronic medical records system
  • Bellin will offer current physician employees and current employees of DCHS employment with Bellin
  • As required by law, Bellin will assume the various collective bargaining agreements at each DCHS location
  • The new entity, Bellin-DCHS, will maintain a meaningful local voice in governance through a board of directors with representation from Bellin, DCHS and local community members. The board will have wide-ranging oversight and responsibility for Dickinson operations

“We are appreciative of the great work and dedication of DCHS physicians, employees and staff,” said Kerwin. “You helped make Dickinson what it is today. All of us at Bellin look forward to working with you as we help grow what is already an outstanding health care system. We believe there is a great future ahead of us.”

It is anticipated that a purchase agreement will be worked out during the coming months and finalized during the second quarter of 2018. The agreement will have to be approved by both the Bellin and DCHS Boards and will also go to the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners for approval.