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      Portage Hospital looking to join with LifePoint

      The Portage Health Board of Directors announced it has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with LifePoint Hospitals.

      The proposed partnership will provide Portage Health with additional resources to expand the health care services provided in its communities and invest further in the growth of the hospital.

      The letter of intent is a non-binding agreement that authorizes Portage Health and LifePoint to move forward with pursuing the proposed joint venture. Following due diligence and a negotiation process, which is projected to take 60 to 90 days, the parties would enter into a definitive agreement. The agreement would then be subject to review by the Attorney General of Michigan before being finalized.

      ??We selected LifePoint as a partner because of its commitment to physicians, employees, and community,?? said Steve Zutter, chairman of the Portage Health board. ??As part of this joint venture, Portage Health would share ownership and governance of our system while benefiting from financial resources, clinical and quality programs, and management expertise of one of the leading hospital companies in the nation. Together with LifePoint, we have a great opportunity to enhance the outstanding, innovative care provided throughout the Western Upper Peninsula.??

      Under the terms of the proposed partnership, Portage Health and LifePoint would share ownership and governance of the hospital. Portage Health and LifePoint would share ownership of the hospital, with LifePoint obtaining the majority ownership interest. Governance would be equally shared between Portage Health and LifePoint, giving the community a long-term voice in the strategic direction of the hospital. The retained assets of Portage Health and the proceeds from the transaction would be used to create a locally-governed charitable foundation that would fund organizations that support crucial community needs.

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      Marquette General CEO Gary Muller's statement on Portage Health announcement:

      We were excited to learn about the letter of intent signed by Portage Health to explore a partnership with LifePoint Hospitals. Through our affiliation with Duke LifePoint Healthcare-a joint venture between Duke University Health System and LifePoint Hospitals-we've discovered that LifePoint is a great partner for our hospital and our community. Our expectations have been greatly exceeded. We are pleased that LifePoint is expanding its presence in the U.P.

      Marquette General has enjoyed a strong relationship with Portage Health through Superior Health Partners (SHP) and Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) for many years. We look forward to the opportunity for enhanced collaboration with Portage Health through their partnership with LifePoint.