Welcome to the Beaver Island Rural Health Center, located on Beaver Island, Michigan.

BIRHC Board Meeting has been cancelled for this Saturday, September 21st

New date will be announced when determined.

Dental Services Update

To the Board of Directors of the Beaver Island Rural Health Center,

As you have learned, Dental Clinics North has had difficulty securing a provider for our Beaver Island clinic, and I have been asked to provide you all with a summary of the situation. Last fall, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan arranged to donate a significant amount of clinic equipment to the Beaver Island Dental Clinic; it was transported on one of the last ferries of the year and accompanied by Patterson Dental. Over the winter, Dental Clinics North and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan worked with Beaver Island Rural Health Center for both the Health Department and BIRHC to purchase the remaining, necessary equipment and supplies to become operational in the spring of 2019. With the long winter, the delivery of the equipment and supplies was postponed due to the ferry schedule, but clinic set-up was completed in April 2019.

Dental Clinics North, as the staffing agency responsible for day-to-day operations and staffing, successfully recruited a dentist that committed to working at the Beaver Island Dental Clinic 4 days per month, so we launched services in May 2019. We had a successful first two days of clinic services in May, however, due to reasons I cannot discuss to protect confidential employee information, our Beaver Island provider was no longer employed with our agency by the end of the month. Our team responded within hours of knowing this information, and we called to reschedule appointments that were set for the week of May 27th.

Since then, we have been working diligently within our own network of providers, as well as through multiple recruitment strategies, to find a replacement provider for our Beaver Island location. Within our own network, we have 4 locations within a reasonable drive to Charlevoix, so we have been in conversation with many of our providers to ask their ability and willingness to help at the Beaver Island location. One of our long-standing providers, Dr. Vagalau, was able to help in July for two days, but we were unable to find a provider for August.

Our top goal is to develop a sustainable plan for provision of dental services. We are aware of the recurrent difficulties in recruiting medical and dental professionals to serve on Beaver Island; we are experiencing those same difficulties, which is why we are currently exploring multiple, potential solutions:

  • Recruiting a provider internally who will accept this new assignment as part of their regular clinic schedule.
  • Recruit a provider externally who will accept this assignment of 4 days per month. Dental Clinics North has provider needs elsewhere within the agency to make this more of a part-time or full-time position, however, there would be travel involved to fill the multiple needs. (We are having multiple conversations with providers about serving Beaver Island.)
  • Recruit a provider through a temporary staffing agency until we find a permanent solution
  • Explore the possibility to apply for, and receive approval for, a PA161 Program, or a Michigan Public Dental Prevention Program, to allow for Registered Dental Hygienists to provide preventive services at Beaver Island Dental Clinic under the remote supervision of a dentist. This would allow for adult and children cleanings to take place without a dentist present on-site.
  • Recruit multiple dentists to serve on Beaver Island so that no one dentist would need to travel to the island 2 times per month. The downside to this is that we would need to assign patients to a provider to ensure continuity of care, but with less frequent visits to the island by each dentist, this could delay treatment plan completion.

In the meantime, we continue to receive calls from residents needing oral health care. We register all new patients and keep a list of all patients needing services, so that when we have a plan to provide high-quality, comprehensive care, we can open up appointment availability and call the list of patients for scheduling appointments. The best way for patients to be registered and added to the list is by calling 1-877-321-7070.

We are committed to ensuring the Beaver Island Dental Clinic is a success, and we have been working to find a provider all summer. Please know we are dedicated to providing services and are working diligently to provide consistent oral health services to the residents of Beaver Island. On behalf of the Health Department of Northwest Michigan and Dental Clinics North, we appreciate your partnership and support as we work through this.

Thank you, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with further questions.

Erika Van Dam, MPH, CHES
Deputy Health Officer, Health Department of Northwest Michigan
Executive Director, Dental Clinics North
Van Dam Signature

Donna Kubic, Managing Director
Beaver Island Rural Health Center
37304 Kings Highway
Beaver Island , MI 49782
Phone: (231) 448-2275
Fax: (231) 448-2348
For Emergency/Ambulance, dial 911

An inside look into being a health care provider on Beaver Island, by Dr John Martin

As many of you know I started seeing orthopedic patients as a volunteer starting back in 2014. When one of our two nurse practitioners left in October of 2017 the clinic was left in a bit of a bind as clearly one NP could not cover the clinic 24/7. I offered to help until the clinic could hire a full time replacement NP but of course as an Orthopedic Surgeon there would be limits to my involvement given I was not a primary care doctor. Although I have some training as a primary care physician (I am a certified USAF Flight Surgeon) I would never pretend to have the knowledge of say a Board Certified Family Practitioner. So after discussing the options with the BIRHC Board of Directors I renewed my ACLS certification and worked hard to update my primary care knowledge base and “filled in” to relieve the one remaining NP.

This is where life on the island takes form. In my naivete I kind of assumed we would have a replacement within a couple months. Well, finally, a year later we now have one! In retrospect this delay was of course predictable. When one thinks about the recruitment logistics it becomes clear this would be no easy task. First the new NP has to be someone willing to move full-time to the island. Because of the 24/7 coverage commuting to the mainland is not feasible. Second, the person must be willing to work for below market salary given the limited budget of the clinic. Also this new NP must be ACLS certified, capable of adult and pediatric care, and be willing to come in unpaid when conditions dictate “all hands on deck” situations. The good news is when one does find such a person they tend to be dedicated and compassionate toward their work.

Thanks Denny Cook

After nine years of active service Denny Cook recently decided not to accept a fourth term as a BIRHC Board member. I am writing to thank Denny and make the community aware of his contributions to the Health Center.

Over those nine years, Denny did an excellent job of being both a loyal team player and a strong leader. As a trustee he had excellent meeting attendance and always respected the opinions of the rest of the board. He volunteered for two important committees and pulled his weight on both of them. In his two years as President he ran an efficient meeting and supported our staff. He always had the courage to speak out for whatever he honestly felt was in the best interests of our organization.

Denny deserves special appreciation for serving because he did so despite ongoing medical issues. Despite these issues, Denny always responded promptly, within hours, by email or phone when his input was needed. He was truly engaged for all the right reasons.

The contributions Denny has made to the Health Center that stick out in my mind are:

  • Coming up with the idea of an early bird raffle drawing;
  • Taking the lead in getting the grant for, purchasing and supervising the installation of our emergency generator and its fence;
  • Forming a relationship with Gregg Williams which resulted in the Health Center being designated a regional emergency operations center;
  • Many hours spent persuading VA officials to consider providing more VA health services on Beaver Island;
  • Serving as board -staff liaison;
  • Serving on the building maintenance committee during years when major repairs had to be supervised.

I am sure I am missing other contributions. ( Oh yes, there was the time that he climbed on the Health Center’s leaky, icy roof to personally help chop off an ice dam.) Thank you, Denny, for being a model board. Your fellow board members and the staff of the Health Center will miss knowledge, common sense, and genuine concern.


For Your Medical Needs
We are open Monday thru Friday by appointment, with 24 hour urgent care available.

You can call 231-448-2275 to set up an appointment or for more information.

Flu Shots available – call 448-2275 for an appointment

What do I do if I have a medical emergency on Beaver Island?

If the emergency is life threatening, call 911. Remember to stay on the line, as there will be up to a 30 second delay. DO NOT HANG UP. If a 911 call is placed, EMS will respond to the scene. Depending on the situation, the patient will either be brought to the Beaver Island Rural Health Center via ambulance to be treated by the care provider on call or arrangements will be made to have the patient flown to one of the local hospitals.

If the need is urgent but not life threatening, call the Health Center at 448-2275.

The Health Center is open from 8:30 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday (Closed 12-1 PM for lunch). Urgent patients can be seen immediately during regular hours. If you call the Health Center when it is closed your call will be automatically forwarded to the cell phone of one of our two care providers. They are on call 24 hours a day and can meet you at the clinic within 20 minutes. After evaluation by the care providers, the patient will be treated at the clinic and released, the patient will be instructed to go to the ER on his own or EMS will be notified to evacuate the patient to the appropriate hospital.

For directions or map to the Beaver Island Rural Health Center, go here.

2018- 2023 Strategic Plan Available Online

Strategic Plan 2018 -23View or Download the Plan

BIRHC 2018 Community Update

View Slide by Slide or Download PDf of the Presentation


Do you have high blood pressure?

There’s only one way to know, and that is to have it checked!

Stop by the Beaver Island Rural Health Center for a free blood pressure check.
High blood pressure adds to your heart’s workload and can damage your arteries and organs over time, according to the American Heart Association. People with high blood pressure are more likely to have a stroke, more likely to develop congestive heart failure and more likely to develop coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.

High blood pressure has no symptoms, which is why it is called the “silent killer.” High blood pressure can usually be controlled by diet, more exercise and medication.

While you are at the Health Center, check on other diagnostic tests that are available to residents of the Island. Women who are ages 40 through 64 may qualify for free mammograms and Pap tests.

The BIRHC mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost health care to all on the island, regardless of ability to pay. Contact Managing Director Donna Kubic at 448-2275 for more information about our sliding fee scale. Depending on your income and family size, you may qualify for a discount of up to 75% on services provided at the Health Center.

Remember, call us at 448-2275 for a free blood pressure check.