Duke LifePoint Eyes Michigan's Upper Peninsula

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 7, 2012

Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula may soon have a new blue chip player competing in the healthcare arena with the likes of the prestigious Mayo Clinic and Henry Ford Health System.

Duke LifePoint Healthcare this week announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a partnership with Marquette General Health System, a regional referral center that serves about 300,000 people in a 15-county area in the U.P.

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If the deal is finalized in the coming months and approved by the Michigan Attorney General, Duke LifePoint would take ownership sometime this summer and MGHS would become a for-profit entity.

MGHS President/CEO Gary Muller says it is too early to put a price tag on the value of the deal, but he told HealthLeaders Media that an outright ownership arrangement by Duke LifePoint, with oversight from locally controlled board of trustees, makes the most sense.

"Our board looked at different joint ventures, 80-20, and 50-50 partnerships," Muller explained. "They felt like the best thing for the community is to have an outright acquisition by Duke LifePoint because otherwise you don't gain as much capital or involvement. You do give up autonomy to an extent, but why go halfway?"

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