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IM’s DCH aims to join Marshfield Clinic system

DR. SUSAN TURNEY, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System, speaks Tuesday at Dickinson County Healthcare System in Iron Mountain, where officials signed a letter of intent for DCH to join the Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic system.

IRON MOUNTAIN — A planned partnership announced Tuesday between Dickinson County Healthcare System and Marshfield Clinic Health System will include construction of a cancer center to bring more oncology services to the Iron Mountain region, officials said.

The organizations have signed a letter of intent for DCH hospital and clinics to join Marshfield Clinic, DCH CEO Chuck Nelson said.

“This is a game-changer for our local community,” Nelson said in a news release. “Our momentum at DCH is stronger than ever. Joining Marshfield Clinic helps us expand locally based access to even higher-quality health care. Together we will add more primary care and specialty providers, widen our scope of services and improve our care environments across all our locations. As a physician-led organization, Marshfield Clinic is best prepared to help lead the health care discussion in the Upper Peninsula.”

The partnership will focus on expanding locally provided outpatient surgeries, supporting DCH’s pediatric team with Marshfield Children’s Hospital and growing DCH’s primary-care providers with Marshfield’s recruiting network, Nelson said. It also will enhance emergency services, he said.

The hospital Tuesday had a community ribbon-cutting on a recently completed emergency department upgrade — a $1 million project that includes a complete renovation of more than 10,000 square feet of patient care area.

Chuck Nelson, CEO of Dickinson County Healthcare System, looks on as Margaret Minerick, DCH board chair, signs a letter of intent Tuesday for DCH to join Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Construction of a new cancer center would bring a full spectrum of oncology services, incorporating already initiated multi-million-dollar capital expenditures for a highly advanced linear accelerator that provides radiation treatment and nuclear medicine technology for diagnostics.

The next step is for the organizations to develop a definitive affiliation agreement, which they anticipate will be completed by the end of the year. Final closing would occur in 2022. Additional terms of the deal weren’t shared, officials said.

Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System, said the new partnership with DCH will transform rural health care in the Iron Mountain region.

“We know how vital access to local, quality care is for rural communities. Many patients across rural America have little or no access to public transit and drive an hour or more for even routine care,” she said. “In Michigan and Wisconsin, that means long distances on icy winter roads. Our integrated model allows us to deliver the full continuum of health care and services in small, rural communities. We are excited to extend care for the first time beyond the borders of Wisconsin, and we could not have a better partner in this venture than DCH. Together, we will define the future of rural health care, and create a regional hub for care in the Upper Peninsula.”

“Marshfield Clinic Health System’s leadership and staff are friendly, smart and engaging,” said Margaret Minerick, DCH board chair. “Our cultures are aligned, and we could not be more comfortable and confident in our choice to join Marshfield.”

Marshfield Clinic Health System is an integrated health system with more than 1,400 providers comprising 170 specialties, health plan, and research and education programs. Primary operations include Marshfield Clinic, nine Marshfield Medical Center hospitals, Marshfield Children’s Hospital, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Security Health Plan and Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation.

DCHS’s Dickinson County Memorial Hospital is a 49-bed general medical and surgical facility in Iron Mountain. The hospital serves communities in the central Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. It has more than 70 providers on staff and more than 700 employees providing a broad range of acute care, including inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic and specialty services. It also has primary care clinics in Iron Mountain, Kingsford and Norway as well as Florence, Wis.

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