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      MGH close to being acquired by larger health system

      Big news Tuesday from Marquette General Hospital, it's being sold. A non-binding agreement has been created for the sale of the hospital to Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

      A definitive agreement is expected to be reached in the next two to four months. Marquette General says this agreement was formed following a six-month interview process by the board of trustees to sell the hospital. They say Duke LifePoint stood out from four other candidates by a "long shot."

      The hospital is in good financial shape now, but Marquette General officials say it's the 'future' that inspired them to sell the facility.

      "There is no lose on this transaction, it's all win," said President and CEO of MGH Gary Muller.

      With a projected $90 million dollars in cutbacks from Medicare funding, and a large debt, members of the Board of Trustees say it's the right decision to sell the operation to Duke LifePoint, a joint venture of Duke University Health System and LifePoint Hospitals, a for-profit organization.

      Is it a business decision or a move that's best for patients? Officials say it's both.

      MGH says prices and th,e name will stay the same but patients will notice a dramatic change at the hospital.

      From minor cosmetic improvements to new facilities, officials say there's a 10-year capital improvement plan that focuses on building sports medicine, oncology, cardiology and neuro surgery programs.

      They'll also be recruiting 64 physicians in the next five years, officials say that will bring local jobs to the area.

      "As we bring physicians, that also means more nurses, also means more supportive staff," said Mick Vonck, Treasurer for the Board of Trustees.

      They also say under the agreement current employees will be retained at their current or higher salary.

      As for Superior Health Partners, they say they plan to continue working with local hospitals in a new way to build the best medical care possible in the U.P.

      They're hoping the change will turn the tables on the high numbers of patient outmigration in the U.P.

      "We'll actually hopefully bring patients to Marquette," said Muller. "When a patient really wants a service, we're going to have everything they want and need, and also have a partner that can back that up."

      MGH wasn't able to tell us Tuesday how much the hospital will be sold for at this point. They do say this will may be one of the biggest business transactions that's ever taken place in Marquette.


      The Marquette General Health System is one step closer to enhancing health care provided in the Upper Peninsula.

      The health system's Board of Directors announced that it has signed a non-binding agreement to join Duke Life Point Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals.

      This agreement allows Marquette General and Duke LifePoint to move forward with due diligence and other necessary steps to pursue an acquisition of MGHS by Duke LifePoint.

      â??The acquisition by Duke LifePoint is an historic opportunity for Marquette General and the Upper Peninsula,â?? said Brad Cory, Chair of the Marquette General Health System Board of Trustees. â??As part of Duke LifePoint, we will have the ability to improve the quality of health care in the Upper Peninsula, strengthen Marquette General financially, and expand our role in the region, working with other Upper Peninsula hospitals.â??

      Marquette General and Duke LifePoint will examine all aspects of the proposed acquisition and negotiate a definitive agreement.

      Once an agreement is reached, the transaction will be subject to various government approvals, including a thorough review process by the Michigan Attorney General.

      â??Our board carefully reviewed strategic options with organizations from across the country, and Duke LifePoint is clearly the best match for Marquette General and the communities we serve,â?? said Judy Watson-Olson, Vice-Chair of the MGHS Board. â??Duke LifePointâ??s team shares our dedication to quality health care in this region and commitment to our patients, employees and physicians. Together, we will be able to ensure that Marquette General is here caring for and serving our community for generations to come.â??

      Duke LifePoint combines LifePoint's extensive operational resources and experience in successfully managing 54 community-based hospitals across the country with Duke's renowned expertise and leadership in the development of patient safety and clinical quality systems. Marquette General will become the fourth hospital in the Duke LifePoint network and the first in Michigan.

      â??We are excited at the prospect of welcoming Marquette General to the Duke LifePoint system,â?? said William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, Executive Vice President of Duke University Health System. â??The hospital has a solid reputation for high quality care and a strong commitment to its community. Our team is looking forward to exploring how we can work with Marquette General to strengthen its quality and enhance health care throughout the Upper Peninsula.â??

      Duke LifePointâ??s acquisition proposal includes significant financial commitments to enhance quality care and patient safety and expand service lines to better serve patients throughout the Upper Peninsula. Investments will be made in major capital improvements, including construction of a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center, comprehensive cancer center, private patient rooms, new technology and new IT infrastructure.

      The proposal also includes investments to boost physician recruitment.

      Resources from the transaction will be available to meet the hospitalâ??s pension obligations and provide funding for foundation grants to support community-based health care organizations and initiatives.

      In addition, Duke LifePoint shares a fundamental commitment to the MGHS workforce and to continuation of MGHSâ??s historical provision of charity care.

      â??We are committed to making sure that Marquette General continues to be the place you trust for health care in the Upper Peninsula and beyond,â?? Cory said. â??The hospital will continue to operate the Level II Trauma Center, our leading Oncology Center with its recently acquired Linear Accelerator and CT Simulator, and the only neo-natal intensive care center in the region. And Marquette General will continue to be one of the top cardio hospitals in the country.â??

      As part of the proposed Duke LifePoint acquisition, the Marquette community will receive an economic boost from the construction of new facilities, spending at local businesses and municipal tax payments.

      â??Duke LifePoint is building a strong system of quality-driven hospitals and providers that are well positioned for success,â?? said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. â??Duke LifePoint and Marquette General have a great opportunity to capitalize on each organizationâ??s innovative approach to integrated delivery of quality health care in this region. Together, we will broaden the clinical services available here and advance our shared dedication to clinical quality and patient safety.â??

      â??As part of Duke LifePoint, we will be able to create new opportunities and new jobs for doctors, nurses and health care professionals in the Upper Peninsula,â?? said Gary Muller, President and CEO of MGHS. â??We will have new centers of excellence at Marquette General, new and expanded service lines, and mentoring and training programs for our staff to improve patient care.â??

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