Open Letter to Vanguard/DMC Legacy Board: Obligations to Low Income Individuals

Joe Walsh
Chief Executive Officer, DMC Legacy Board

 VHS of Michigan Annual Report

Dear Mr. Walsh:

Thank you for sharing the VHS of Michigan Annual Report on Vanguard/DMC’s performance in meeting the requirements of the Vanguard Purchase Agreement. We are pleased that Vanguard/DMC has adopted the more generous Vanguard Charity Care and Financial Assistance policy.

Our questions and comments relate to the Indigent and Low Income portion (Section 12.2) and the Health and Wellness Section (12.11).

Our disappointment with the report is in the lack of data and specificity to support the glowing assertions of Vanguard/DMC’s efforts to inform their indigent and low income community of its new and expanded Charity Care and Financial Assistance policies and the outcomes for these efforts. Access to solid data is necessary for citizens of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan to be able to adequately evaluate if the intent and language of the sale agreement.

Here are some examples of the information that is lacking in the report:

  • Comparison for the past several years on amounts of financial assistance given;
  • Comparison from the past several years on the number of people requesting, qualifying and receiving financial assistance;
  • Comparison from the past several years of the average amount of financial aid received by individuals;
  • Comparison from the past several years of the average percentage of financial aid as compared to the amount billed to an individual;
  • Information on the number and percentage of people who meet their financial obligation after being granted financial assistance;
  • Number of phone calls received on the Hot Line and aggregated data on the reasons for the calls; and the
  • Number of staff designated a Patient Representative and the number of consumers helped.

Our concerns in the Health and Wellness section focus on the lack of specificity on any positive impacts of the activities funded on the health of consumers.

We think that the collection of, and public access to, this information is essential in making sure that Vanguard/DMC is complying with its obligations. We look forward to discussing these issues with you at our next meeting and gaining access to this information. Please feel free to contact us by e-mail at or by phone at 248-880-2526.


The Coalition to Protect Detroit Health Care

Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director | MICHUHCAN
Marilyn Mullane, Executive Director | Michigan Legal Services
Ponsella Hardaway, Director | Metropolitan Organizing Strategies Enabling Strength
Sister Cheryl Liske, Director | Gamaliel of Michigan
Mary Ellen Howard, RSM, Executive Director | St. Frances Cabrini Clinic


Michael Duggan, Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Medical Center
Herb Smitherman, M.D., Board Member, DMC Legacy Board
Chris Allen, Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Wayne County Health Authority
Katharyn Barron, Division Chief, Charitable Trusts, Michigan Attorney General