2012-03-15 / Community

Marquette General Hospital signs memorandum of understanding

Marquette General Health System (MGHS) Board of Trust- ees is one step closer to enhancing healthcare provided in the Upper Peninsula. The board announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to join Duke Life- Point Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals.

The memorandum of understand- ing is a non-binding agreement that 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.

“The acquisition by Duke Life- Point is a historic opportunity for Marquette General and the Upper Peninsula,” said Brad Cory, Chair of the Marquette General Health System Board of Trustees. “As part of Duke LifePoint, we will have the ability to improve the quality of healthcare in the Upper Peninsula, strengthen Marquette General fi- nancially and expand our role in the region, working with other Upper Peninsula hospitals.”

Over the next two to four months, Marquette General and Duke Life- Point will examine all aspects of the proposed acquisition and negotiate a definitive agreement. Once a de- finitive agreement is reached, the transaction will be subject to vari- ous government approvals, includ- ing a thorough review process by the Michigan Attorney General.

“Our board carefully reviewed strategic options with organiza- tions from across the country, and Duke LifePoint is clearly the best match for Marquette General and the communities we serve,” said

Watson-Olson, Vice-Chair of the MGHS Board. “Duke Life- Point’s team shares our dedication to quality healthcare in this region and commitment to our patients, employees and physicians. Togeth- er, we will be able to ensure that Marquette General is here caring for and serving our community for generations to come.”

Duke LifePoint combines LifePoint’s extensive operation- al resources and experience in successfully managing 54 com- munity-based hospitals across the country with Duke’s renowned expertise and leadership in the de- velopment of patient safety and clinical quality systems. Marquette General will become the fourth hospital in the Duke LifePoint net- work and the first in Michigan.

Duke LifePoint’s acquisition pro- posal 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, compre- hensive cancer center, private pa- tient 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 hos- pital’s pension obligations and provide funding for foundation grants to support community-based healthcare organizations and initia- tives. In addition, Duke LifePoint shares a fundamental commitment to the MGHS workforce and to continuation of MGHS’s historical provision of charity care.

As part of the proposed Duke LifePoint acquisition, the Mar- quette community will receive an economic boost from the construc- tion of new facilities, spending at local businesses and municipal tax payments.

“As part of Duke LifePoint, we will be able to create new oppor- tunities and new jobs for doctors, nurses and healthcare profession- als in the Upper Peninsula,” said Gary Muller, President and CEO of MGHS. “We will have new centers of excellence at Marquette General, new and expanded ser- vice lines, and mentoring and training programs for our staff to improve patient care.”

The Michigan Nurses Associa- tion, who represents the approxi- mately 415 registered nurses at MGH, does voice concerns on the acquisition.

“Our number one concern is whether our nurses will be able to maintain their high standards of patient care and safety if the hos- pital is taken over by a for-profit company. Losing a community hospital that focuses on patients to a corporation that focuses on prof- its is a drastic change that cannot be undone and carries big risks,” said Executive Director, John Karebian.

Further information on the proposed relationship with Duke LifePoint will be available on the Marquette General web site at www.mgh.org.

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