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Dickinson County Healthcare System signs letter of intent to join Marshfield Clinic Health System

The agreement would expand locally-provided outpatient surgeries, support Dickinson County with Marshfield Children’s Hospital, and help recruit primary care providers to the hospital
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 1:16 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. & MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WLUC) - A major Wisconsin health care provider has a deal to take over Dickinson County Healthcare System.

After cutting the ribbon for its renovated emergency room Tuesday, Dickinson County Healthcare System announced its intent to join Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Marshfield Clinic would extend beyond Wisconsin for the first time and its CEO says the provider knows rural health care needs.

“The Upper Peninsula of Michigan looks a lot like the northern part of Wisconsin. We’ll be serving very similar patients and communities to what we are serving right now,” said Susan Turney, Marshfield Clinic CEO.

DCHS signed closing papers for a $17M USDA loan last week. This is the third letter of intent the once financially troubled hospital has signed since 2017. Deals with Bellin Health and UP Health System fell through.

The agreement with Marshfield Clinic would expand locally-provided outpatient surgeries, support Dickinson County with Marshfield Children’s Hospital, and help recruit primary care providers to the hospital, which would be renamed under the Marshfield Clinic Health System.

“It’s just going to increase our ability to deliver a higher level of care in our community that we live in today. That’s really an advancement in health care that is very much needed and very important for rural health care delivery today,” said Chuck Nelson, DCHS CEO.

Another key element of the partnership is the construction of a new state-of-the-art Cancer Center, which would bring a full spectrum of oncology services to the region. The center would incorporate already initiated multi-million-dollar capital expenditures for a highly advanced linear accelerator that provides radiation treatment and nuclear medicine technology for diagnostics.

Turney says that 20 percent of the United States is rural, and the stress on rural health care is extreme.

“Most of the communities we are in are under two thousand people,” Turney said. “We understand the importance of providing care locally and supporting our communities through have a vital and incredibly successful health system.”

Nelson says joining Marshfield Clinic is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to expanding local health care in Dickinson County.

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

The next step is for the organizations to develop a definitive affiliation agreement. That should be done by the end of this year and final closing would happen next year. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed Tuesday.

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