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Portage Health signs letter of intent to form joint venture with LifePoint Hospitals

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Potential partnership will help strengthen healthcare delivery in the Western Upper Peninsula 

Hancock, Michigan (February 28, 2013) – The Portage Health Board of Directors today 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 healthcare 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 of 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.

“Portage Health is known for its quality service, commitment to patients and dedication to its communities. We are delighted at the prospect of partnering with Portage,” said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. “We look forward to working with the Portage board, management, employees and medical staff to explore new ways to expand and enhance healthcare services in the Western U.P. and strengthen the healthcare delivery system throughout the region.”

LifePoint is a leading hospital company focused on providing quality healthcare close to home. The joint venture with Portage Health will expand LifePoint’s presence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In September 2012, Duke LifePoint Healthcare, the innovative joint venture partnership between LifePoint and Duke University Health System, acquired Marquette General Health System in Marquette.

“LifePoint has shown a tremendous commitment to strengthening healthcare delivery in the U.P. and partnering with providers to enhance the services we provide and ensure patients have access to the care they need and deserve locally,” said Jim Bogan, Portage Health President and CEO. “We are eager to explore this joint venture further and more closely examine the benefits it can offer our hospital and the future of healthcare in our communities.”

About Portage Health 

Portage Health’s mission is to improve the health of the community by providing high quality, safe and compassionate healthcare. Portage Health owns and operates a 36-bed acute-care hospital and a 60-bed skilled nursing unit and related health care services in Hancock-Houghton, Michigan, along with nine other locations throughout the Copper Country, each offering a variety of services provided by a full spectrum of healthcare professionals. More information about Portage Health can be found at 

PDF of Press Release 

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