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Munising Memorial, Schoolcraft Memorial Join Superior Health Partners

December 14, 2011

Munising Memorial Hospital and Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital are the latest healthcare providers in the Upper Peninsula to join Superior Health Partners.

MMH and Schoolcraft bring the number to seven Upper Peninsula healthcare organizations to join the SHP healthcare delivery alliance, explained Gary Muller, who is also president and CEO of SHP, and of Marquette General Hospital. SHP is a healthcare delivery system formed in 2010 by Marquette General Hospital (MGH) to enable more people to receive accessible, quality healthcare in the Upper Peninsula.

“We are proud to have Munising Memorial and Schoolcraft Memorial as a member of our SHP alliance,” Muller said. “It takes visionary leadership at both the administrative and governing board level among U.P. healthcare providers to expand the benefits of such a unifying alliance.”

MMH President and CEO Kevin Calhoun said, “Marquette General Health Systems and its CEO Gary Muller have taken a leadership role in creating Superior Health Partners and setting its mission to both increase the quality and effectiveness of local health care as well as making local health care more affordable. Munising Memorial is pleased to join SHP and help support the fulfillment of its mission.”

Schoolcraft Memorial CEO George Montgomery said, “Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is excited to be part of this growing alliance of hospitals committed to providing quality health services in the communities we serve. This partnership will also help to ensure that patients can remain here in the UP for tertiary services.”

It was announced in August that four more healthcare organizations had joined the alliance, including Portage Health of Hancock; Baraga County Memorial Hospital of L’Anse; and Dickinson County Healthcare System of Iron Mountain; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Muller said, “We are not just proactively preparing for national health care reform, but also ensuring the U .P. communities we all serve will retain and broaden access to quality care. By combining resources and managing the talented combined pool of healthcare providers, SHP will focus on enhancing quality healthcare services and medical treatments that are being delivered in the Upper Peninsula.”

Muller pointed out that the SHP alliance in no way diminishes U.P. community hospital independence, while the affiliation with SHP will strengthen each hospital’s ability to compete with out-of-state healthcare providers, which in recent years have systematically tried to steer specific healthcare services out of the U.P. Patient “outmigration” accounts for at least $80 million healthcare funding to leave the Upper Peninsula, primarily to Wisconsin.

SHP Board Chairman Tim Larson said, “The SHP alliance is committed to strengthening the quality healthcare umbrella in the region. The Wisconsin provider model is one of encroachment, and if left unchallenged will diminish local healthcare access in many U.P. communities. SHP provider hospitals, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, are committed to preserving and strengthening access to quality care close to home for U.P. residents.

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