A northern Michigan hospital is closing its doors

Cheboygan Memorial Hospital is closing down its entire organization today.

The doors will shut at 11:59pm, but officials are starting the process immediately.

CMH is closed to all routine services. The Emergency Room in Cheboygan is currently diverting non-critical patients to other facilities. The Emergency Room is seeing only critical patients until 11am today, after that, all patients will be diverted to the appropriate hospital for treatment. For those who have an emergent need, they will need to call 9-1-1.

Hospital officials are telling patients who need a copy of their standing order for testing or blood draws, that they can stop at the patient registration desk on the first floor of the Cheboygan Memorial Health Center.

The proposed sale of the hospital to McLaren Health Care Corporation abruptly ended Monday night. The hospital reports the sale was supposed to be finalized, but federal regulations stopped it from moving forward.

Shari Shult, CEO of Cheboygan Memorial Hospital says, "It's frustrating because we have worked so hard to secure healthcare here in Cheboygan. To end on a 9th hour decision is disappointing."

CMH officials say the problem is with recertification requirements and licensure of its emergency services and outpatient surgery area. The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) is unwilling to grant a waiver to allow McLaren Health Care to immediately operate those areas as planned without additional surveys being completed.

The necessary surveys could take anywhere from 45 to 180 days. CMH is only budgeted and authorized to operate as an organization through April 3, the scheduled date for the proposed sale.

Thomas Mee, a representative for McLaren Health Care says, "Healthcare isn't like a restaurant , we can't close for 45-120 days and reopen and hope things will pick up where they left off."

CMH filed for bankruptcy protection on March 1, 2012. On March 21, CMH announced it would have to close its long-term care facility, Larson Hall, after negotiations were unable to produce a resolution needed to maintain those services.

The Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, located in Bay City, approved the proposed sale agreement to McLaren on March 23, 2012, with Judge Daniel Opperman scheduling the closing of the sale to occur on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

"With this closure, we will have to close our emergency room," said Shari Schult, CEO. "We will need to coordinate with area EMS services and local law enforcement to divert all ambulances to the most appropriate hospital. This closure also means all of our other services are closed, including outpatient clinics, x-ray, lab, cardiac rehab and physical therapy. It also means ALL of our employees are without a job."

Monday night, the CMH board of trustees voted to commence an immediate wind-down of the entire organization.

"The board of trustees and the entire organization have worked diligently to preserve health care in our community," said Jamie McClurg CMH board chair. "Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, the sale could not be completed and we had no choice but to take this action."

"It's very frustrating that in spite of all the work put into this effort that we were unable to secure healthcare in Cheboygan," Schult added.

This closure announcement includes not only the hospital in Cheboygan, but also the Cheboygan Memorial Health Center, Women's & Children's Health Services, and the Indian River Medical Center.

Cheboygan Memorial Hospital has been operating in the area since 1942 and is Cheboygan County's largest employer. The closure impacts more than 400 employees.

The closest hospitals to Cheboygan Memorial include:

32.12 miles

Mackinac Straits Health System

1140 N. State Street, St Ignace

36.74 miles

Northern Michigan Regional Health System

416 Connable Avenue, Petoskey

48.14 miles

Otsego Memorial Hospital

825 N. Center Avenue, Gaylord

73.67 miles

Mercy Hospital Grayling

1100 Michigan Avenue, Grayling

108.43 miles

Munson Medical Center

550 Munson Ave, Traverse City