ESCANABA - Health care professionals and members of the community met at the new Doctors Park building Thursday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony and blessing of the new healing garden.
Between 25 and 30 percent of referrals to Marquette General Hospital come from Delta County. The new Doctors Park facility is designed to provide many of the services found at Marquette General Hospital to Delta County patients without forcing them to travel.
"People here know people, so when they come in you know your neighbors and you're taking care of your neighbors...," said Gary Muller, CEO of Marquette General Health Systems.
Ilsa Matthes | Daily Press
Assistant Administrator Scott Tuma, Chairman and CEO of Duke LifePoint Hospitals William Carpenter III, and CEO of Marquette General Health Systems Gary Muller, center, from left, cut the ribbon at the official opening for the new Doctors Park facility Thursday afternoon.
The new site will also feature a variety of medical specialists including orthopedists, cardiologists, allergists, OBGYNs, pediatricians, urologists, nephrologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, and rheumatologists, as well as more family physicians.
"The focus really is to keep the patients local. These are all services we have in Marquette, of course, but these are services we want to have here," said Muller.
The new building is the result of a $12 million investment by Duke Lifepoint Healthcare, which acquired Marquette General Health Systems on Aug. 31. Duke LifePoint Healthcare, one of the highest ranked health systems worldwide, is a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals.
In the future, doctors from Marquette General Hospital and Doctors Park will have access to extra educational benefits through Duke University.
"I think one of the reasons Duke was interested in us is we provide medical education here in the Upper Peninsula," said Frederick Hoenke, medical director of the Marquette General Medical Group.
"We train physicians, we train other non-physician positions. Half of the doctors we've trained to go into medicine have stayed in the Upper Peninsula," he added.
Focusing on the region is important for DukeLifepoint. "We want to make sure that we use the resources of Marquette General in order to expand quality care across the entire Upper Peninsula. We're excited about that," said Bill Carpenter, chairman and CEO of DukeLifepoint.
The partnership has been well received by Marquette General and Doctors Park employees. "It's a real relationship, it's not just on paper. We're a part of Duke," said Hoenke.
The relationship with other groups in Delta County - particularly Rampart EMS and OSF St. Francis Hospital - were stressed by representatives from Marquette General.
"We work very closely with OSF. They're obviously the hospital in Delta County and what we want to do is support them to take care of the patients," said Muller.
At 3 p.m. the healing garden was blessed by Rev. Scott White of First Presbyterian Church of Escanaba. The garden is a memorial for Dr. Don Fitch, who passed away earlier this year.