In 2012, Duke LifePoint, a joint venture between LifePoint and Duke University Health System, purchased the 315-bed Marquette General Hospital, which serves as a tertiary care hospital for the region.
"Our goal will be to make sure that Marquette is delivering a level of service that will ensure that Portage and Bell will send all of their referral business to Marquette, but Marquette will have to earn this," Murphy says. "Marquette is our tertiary hospital that provides those complex clinical services: heart, cancer, orthopedics. Portage and Bell are secondary hospitals that are not maintaining today some of those more tertiary service lines."
Murphy says Duke will not have a direct ownership interest at Bell and Portage, "but they will be involved in the quality and patient safety programs and the coordination and building of the network throughout the Upper Peninsula."
LifePoint's affiliation with Duke at Marquette General Hospital was an attractive selling point when negotiating with trustees at Bell and Portage. "They want to provide the absolute best care for their patients in their market," he says. "With the clinical expertise that Duke will bring to the tertiary hospital at Marquette when they are referring their patients into Marquette as a tertiary hospital, they will know they'll have Duke services and quality and safety programs all in play."