MARQUETTE - The proposed sale of Marquette General Hospital to Duke LifePoint Healthcare took a big step forward Thursday with approval of the transaction by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
"After a thorough review by my staff and independent experts, I am pleased to approve the sale of Marquette General Hospital to Duke LifePoint," Schuette said in a news release. "This deal will ensure continued access to quality health care for the people of Marquette."
With that approval in hand, the sale is now expected to be finalized in the near future. Earlier in the day, the Northern Michigan University Board of Directors removed a couple of encumbrances impacting the sale.
Schuette assigned an eight-person team to examine the proposed sale and retained an independent expert to value the hospital's assets and review the sale process.
In recognition of Schuette's unique responsibility over charitable assets, the parties conditioned the sale on his approval. With the sale, Marquette General will transform from a nonprofit hospital to a for-profit Duke LifePoint Healthcare venture.
"This review was a critical milestone in the process, and we are pleased to move forward with finalizing this transaction following the completion of other closing conditions. We thank the attorney general and his associates for their time and attention in reviewing this acquisition and considering its benefits to our community," said Marquette General Chief Executive Officer Gary Muller. "We look forward to officially becoming part of Duke LifePoint and having additional resources to strengthen our hospital, enhance the services we offer and advance healthcare across the Upper Peninsula."
Schuette's review team focused on the due diligence of Marquette General's board of trustees and the overall fairness of the sale. The team also directed the work of valuation experts from Stout, Risius, Ross, who were engaged at no cost to taxpayers.
In a formal report released Thursday, Schuette concluded the Marquette General Board of Trustees "fulfilled its fiduciary duties, thereby preserving the hospital's charitable assets and interests."
In a news release, the attorney general's office outlined additional safeguards being required to protect the public interest. They included:
Schuette's report and other important sale documents are posted on the attorney general's website at www.michigan.gov/mgh.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.