IRON RIVER -NORTHSTAR Health System in Iron River has joined as an affiliate of Superior Health Partners.
The SHP Board of Directors took official action Tuesday to accept the affiliation contract with NORTHSTAR.
The move brings the number of Upper Peninsula hospitals under the SHP umbrella to nine. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the 10th SHP affiliate.
"Joining SHP is congruent with the strategic direction of NORTHSTAR Health System,"?said NORTHSTAR?CEO Connie Koutouzos.
Gary Muller, CEO of Marquette General Hospital and SHP, said the group was fortunate to have NORTHSTAR onboard as an affiliate.
Muller said the SHP alliance in no way diminishes U.P. community hospital independence, while the affiliation 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 of health care funding that leaves the peninsula annually, primarily to Wisconsin, he said.
SHP was established in 2010 by MGH and Bell Hospital. It was cited in the Wall Street Journal in 2011 as a nationwide model for increasing healthcare quality through unification and alignment efforts.