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      Marquette General Hospital sale approved

      Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette approved the proposed sale of Marquette General Hospital to Duke Lifepoint, LLC on Thursday afternoon.

      Schuette assigned an eight person team to examine the proposed sale and also had an independent expert examine the value of the hospital's assets. According to the Attorney General's office, he also required the parties to include additional measures to protect the public interest.

      "After a thorough review by my staff and independent experts, I am pleased to approve the sale of Marquette General Hospital to Duke Lifepoint," said Schuette. "This deal will ensure continued access to quality health care for the people of Marquette."

      The total value given to MGH is $483 million, and according to Schuette the sale achieves several goals.

      - Allows the hospital to pay off its significant liabilities, including more than $100 million in long-term debts and unfunded pension liabilities.- Provides $23 million to the Marquette General Foundation, which will be renamed the Superior Health Foundation, which will monitor and enforce Duke Lifepoint's promises.- Provides hundreds of millions for hospital projects over the next 10 years, which allows the hospital to recruit physicians, preserve core services, and improve quality.

      Attorney General Schuette required several additional safeguards to protect the public interest before the sale could be approved.

      - Schuette negotiated with Duke Lifepoint to pay an additional $8 million toward the Superior Health Foundation, meaning a total of $23 million will now proceed to the Foundation.- Schuette approved the Foundation's dual purpose (1) to improve health care in the greater Marquette community and the underserved areas of the Upper Peninsula, and (2) to monitor and enforce Duke Lifepoint's promises under the purchase agreement.- Superior Health Foundation must reserve $1 million for enforcement purposes.- Duke Lifepoint must provide Superior Health Foundation with detailed, periodic reports and other requested information regarding hospital operations for at least 10 years.- The Attorney General required the parties to recognize his continuing authority to enforce the terms of the sale, including Duke Lifepoint's promises to provide charity care, continue core services, and invest capital.- To support the Attorney General's enforcement role, he will designate a board member to the Superior Health Foundation.

      According to statements made by officials, all current Marquette General employees will be offered employment by Duke Lifepoint, but will be subject to stand pre-employment screenings. Duke Lifepoint will also assume the hospital's obligations under its contract with the Michigan Nurses Association.

      Marquette General Hospital announced in March that Duke Lifepoint was interested in buying the hospital, which will be the company's first health system in the state of Michigan.

      Marquette General's CEO Gary Muller released a statement shortly after the announcement from the Attorney General's Office.

      "Attorney General Bill Schuette has completed his review of the proposed acquisition of Marquette General by Duke Lifepoint Healthcare," said Muller. "This review was a critical milestone in the process, and we are pleased to move forward with finalizing this transaction following the completion of other closing conditions. We thank the Attorney General and his associates for their time and attention in reviewing this acquisition and considering its benefits to our community. We look forward to officially becoming part of Duke Lifepoint and having additional resources to strengthen our hospital, enhance the services we offer and advance health care across the Upper Peninsula."