Dickinson County Healthcare System Signs Letter of Intent with UP Health System

July 19, 2018

Non-binding agreement initiates formal process to evaluate potential acquisition of Dickinson County Healthcare System by UP Health System

Iron Mountain, MI (July 19, 2018) – Dickinson County Healthcare System and UP Health System (UPHS) are beginning a formal process to evaluate the possibility of the Dickinson County system becoming part of UPHS.  The organizations have signed a non-binding letter of intent that allows them  to evaluate a potential acquisition of Dickinson County by UPHS and engage regional stakeholders in discussions of new approaches to ensuring access to high quality care in the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin.

“We are delighted about the prospect of Dickinson County Healthcare joining UP Health System,” said Bill Edberg, chairman of the Dickinson County Healthcare System Board of Trustees. “However, we know that an ownership change alone will not ensure our hospital’s success. Over the next several weeks, we will be working with UP Health System and other key stakeholders throughout this region to examine the opportunities and challenges that exist for us and how we can better work with many key partners to strengthen healthcare here today and into the future.”

UPHS includes three hospital campuses in the Upper Peninsula: UPHS-Marquette – the system’s tertiary campus, UPHS-Portage in Hancock, and UPHS–Bell in Ishpeming.

The letter of intent is a non-binding agreement that initiates a due diligence process allowing Dickinson County Healthcare System and UPHS to ensure that a potential acquisition of Dickinson County Healthcare by UPHS is in the best interests of both organizations and the people they serve.

“Our team is pleased to have signed this letter of intent, and we look forward to learning more about the health system and community,” said Brian Sinotte, market president of UPHS. “Dickinson County Healthcare System and UP Health System share a commitment to ensuring that everyone in this region has access to the quality care they deserve right here in the UP.  We are eager to engage in more in-depth discussions with stakeholders across the region to evaluate how a collaboration between our organizations could work and how we can all partner to improve the health and wellbeing of the people Dickinson County Healthcare serves.”

The hospital and UPHS, in partnership with others throughout the region, aim to reinvigorate the local healthcare system to ensure that Dickinson County Healthcare System is the first choice for community members. Both organizations feel confident they can achieve this goal and prevent families seeking care outside of Michigan with the support of various stakeholders, including patients.

“Access to care close to home is vital in Dickinson and Iron Counties,” said Henry Wender, chairman of the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners. “I am excited that Dickinson County Healthcare System and UP Health System are exploring a potential collaboration and applaud their efforts to bring the many disparate parties with a stake in our region’s health together to have meaningful conversations about how we all can work together to strengthen healthcare delivery here and ensure that people of all ages have the services and support they need to thrive locally.”

Due diligence is projected to take a minimum of 60-90 days. Following this process, if it is determined that the acquisition should move forward, Dickinson County Healthcare System and UPHS will begin to negotiate the terms of a definitive agreement.

State Senator Tom Casperson commented on the announcement, “I am thrilled that Dickinson County Healthcare System, UP Health System, Dickinson County officials and many other stakeholders are working together for the greater good of our communities. As I have again been reminded of personally, we must work to ensure the people we serve have access to quality healthcare, and through the shared commitment of these varied stakeholders towards that end, I am optimistic that the result of this collaborative effort will be a stronger healthcare system serving the region for generations to come.”
About Dickinson County Healthcare System

Servicing Northern Wisconsin and the Central Upper Peninsula for more than 66 years, Dickinson County Healthcare System (DCHS) is a 49 bed Community Hospital with a team of more than 80 active physicians and each year treats over 200,000 patients.   DCHS employs more than 800 staff members, is the major employer in the Dickinson County area, and is a large contributor to the economic wellbeing of our community.  

Most recently recognized by Healthgrades Analytics as being in the top 10% of the Safest Hospitals in the nation, DCHS has also been acknowledged by several other independent healthcare analytics agencies for exceptional Patient Safety and Services.  The recent awards are a testament to how well the Hospital and its Physicians care for its patients and confirm the progress towards keeping the community safe and healthy.

About UP Health System

UP Health System provides comprehensive health care for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan through its three hospitals: UP Health System–Bell in Ishpeming; UP Health System–Portage in Hancock; our flagship facility, UP Health System–Marquette;  as well as a number of primary and specialty care clinics throughout the region. UP Health System – Bell and UP Health System – Portage are both part of the LifePoint Health network, and UPHS – Marquette is part of LifePoint’s joint venture with Duke University Health System, Duke LifePoint Healthcare. 

Our more than 3,000 employees are committed to providing high quality, compassionate care for residents of the UP. Our major services include the Heart & Vascular Institute, Cancer Center, Brain & Spine Center, Rehabilitation Center, Behavioral Health, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Digestive Health, Bariatric Medicine & Weight Management Center, Family Medicine, Women’s Health, Family Birthing, and Pediatrics. UP Health System also provides the region’s premier services in imaging, surgery and laboratory and is home to the UP Telehealth Network. We service many of the communities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with 42 primary and specialty care clinics spread throughout the region.