The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Michigan Health system conglomerates:
Making their bottom line healthier leaves workers sicker

Oct 28, 2002

DMC, the Detroit Medical Center, a very large "non-profit" medical conglomerate in Detroit, Michigan, says it will sell eleven of its community clinics to private doctors, or close them if it can't sell them. Ten of these eleven clinics are in Detroit. DMC says it is not being paid enough by Medicare and Medicaid.

DMC owns eight hospitals – and six of these eight are now put into the Detroit Medical Center complex, near Wayne State University. It has bought up, consolidated, and closed three local hospitals in the last 10 years and more before that. When they closed the hospitals, DMC assured the communities around them that people could still get care at the DMC neighborhood clinics. Now the clinics are being axed.

Closing clinics means that some people will be able to find no care. It means that others will have to make a long trip downtown to DMC's hospital complex. With Detroit's bus system, that trip can take all day. Not to mention the wait at DMC.

DMC is divesting itself of these clinics in order to maintain its much more profitable hospital center. This in turn reflects increasing competition in the field of medical care. DMC wants to improve its bottom line in order to be able to attract the investors it needs.

Other health care systems in the Detroit Metropolitan area are doing the same thing. For example, at the same time as DMC's announcement, the Henry Ford Health System announced it will be closing one of its hospitals in a downriver suburb of Detroit – Riverside Hospital, sending patients to a hospital further away.

The medical industry's restructurings have nothing to do with improving patient care, but everything to do with improving the bottom line.