DMC Chief Mike Duggan announces resignation, thanks employees - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

DMC Head Mike Duggan announces resignation, thanks employees

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By Ron Savage
Fox 2 News Reporter

DETROIT (WJBK) -- "I'm going on the assumption that Mayor Bing's running, that Sheriff Napoleon's running, that any strong candidate's going to be out there," said Mike Duggan.

He is resigning as Detroit Medical Center CEO effective New Year's Eve.  What's next?  A run for mayor of Detroit.

"I've been out in living rooms in every corner of the city every night.  If I could spend a couple hours with every voter in Detroit, this election will go just fine."

Why would he want to be mayor of Detroit?

"When I came into DMC, the board had voted to close Receiving, close Hutzel, there was talk about closing Sinai-Grace, and everybody said a hospital can't survive in Detroit.  You need to move to the suburbs, which is what our competitors were doing.  We proved that by embracing Detroit, we could build and succeed, and now we've got $850 million of investment from Vanguard into our facilities.  I feel the same way.  When people say Detroit is dead and it can't come back, I just don't believe that."

But Mayor Bing gets headaches trying to do almost anything with city council.

"Working with legislative bodies is something I've done my whole life, and when the Vanguard deal was announced, we were selling the DMC system to a for-profit group from Nashville, I needed the city council and county commission approval.  I spent hours with each of those council members and commissioners.  We got it through city council with an 8-1 vote and through the county commission with a 15-0 vote, but it's a matter of treating them with respect.  I won't tell you we won't disagree, we won't have problems, but you have to work hard at those relationships."

The question has already been raised, can a white candidate for mayor win an election in Detroit?

"I'm not having that problem, but it's a matter of getting to know people, and when you get to know people, they don't see in terms of stereotypes.  They see as human beings, and that's a big part of why I'm leaving.  I want to be able to spend all day, every day in the city so that people can get to know me, and at least in the house parties and coffees I've been at, the end of the day, the great majority are signing volunteers cards and wanting to help because they start to get excited about very concrete plans for turning the city around."

Duggan says his announcement to run for mayor will come at the end of the year.

Duggan released the following letter to employees announcing his resignation and thanking them for their support.

Dear DMC Employees:

Hospital system CEO's today last in their jobs an average of 4 1/2 years. As I complete 9 years here, I feel lucky and very grateful to the 14,000 men and women of DMC who have been so supportive of me through a lot of battles and a lot of changes. You worked really hard to bring us back from financial crisis and turn DMC into the outstanding health care system we are today with the fastest growing hospitals in our market.

Yet in all the highs we've experienced in the last 9 years, we have never had a run of success like we've had in just the last three weeks:

1) DMC has finally gone into the insurance business. For years, Henry Ford has used its ownership of HAP to build the business for their doctors and hospitals. Last month the state gave Vanguard/DMC final approval to purchase our own HMO, ProCare. We've got a lot of catching up to do, but relying on Vanguard's experience running HMO's in Arizona, we believe we can move quickly to grow DMC's presence in the insurance market.

2) RIM got a huge boost with the opening of our $5.5 million Neuroscience Unit, giving us one of the finest stroke and brain injury rehab facilities in the U.S.

3) The "beam-topping ceremony" last week at Sinai-Grace marked the completion of the steel structure for the $77 million Sinai-Grace ER/ICU, which will transform the delivery of care on Detroit's west side.

4) Steel came out of the ground Monday on the $100 million heart hospital at Harper, as we build modern housing for what has become one of America's finest cardiology programs.

5) The Harper/Hutzel ER expansion and the Receiving OR expansion are nearing completion, as are the cardiology/cardiac surgery clinic/office renovations on the 4th floor at Children's. We've already opened the Children's Pediatrics Specialty Center and the new patient unit at Huron Valley.

But nothing meant more to DMC's future than President Obama's re-election Tuesday, because it means health reform will go forward. There are 100,000 uninsured Detroiters, a group DMC has been largely treating without pay for generations. Just over a year from now, January 2014, those patients will get insurance coverage for the first time and we'll be paid for the outstanding care we've been delivering.

I've said many times that I wouldn't leave DMC until I know our future is bright and we have an outstanding team in place to carry on our momentum. With this week's election results, I'm confident we're there.

I'll be stepping down as CEO on December 31st and our President, Joe Mullany, will take over on January 1, 2013. I recruited Joe nearly a year ago, when he was serving as the head of Vanguard's Massachusetts system. As you know, Massachusetts adopted health reform under Governor Romney in 2007, implementing a plan almost identical to what we now call Obamacare.

For four years, Joe was tremendously successful operating hospitals in Massachusetts under health reform. He understands it inside and out and will have DMC ready for the January 2014 implementation. In fact, the Michigan Hospital Association has already started to turn to Joe for advice. In short, under Joe Mullany, DMC will be the only hospital system in Michigan led by a CEO who already knows what it takes to run hospitals under health reform.

We're leaving DMC in the hands of Michigan's single greatest expert at what the future holds. Joe has already pretty much taken over DMC's day-to-day operations and I'm confident you won't see any slippage in our performance.

I won't tell you it will be easy. There are still a lot of challenges and uncertainty in health care. But with our own HMO, $850 million in new investment, and Joe Mullany as CEO with Vanguard behind us, I'm convinced DMC is prepared to handle those challenges a lot better than our competitors.

As for me, I'll be here working at DMC until December 31st, so I'm not gone just yet. For today, I just want to say "thank you" to all the DMC employees who have treated me with such kindness and support over the last 9 years. I think back to my first month on the job in 2004 when my days were filled with worried employees coming up to ask me whether they would be losing their jobs. We've come a long way since then.

We rebuilt DMC together and it's been the greatest experience of my life. Now, I'm going to go try something a little harder. But I don't expect to be too far away and I'll always have DMC in my heart.

Thank you for everything.


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