The Marquette General Health System (MGHS) Board of Trustees is one step closer to enhancing healthcare provided in the Upper Peninsula. The board announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to join Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals. The memorandum of understanding is a non-binding agreement that allows Marquette General and Duke LifePoint to move forward with due diligence and other necessary steps to pursue an acquisition of MGHS by Duke LifePoint. “The acquisition by Duke LifePoint is an historic opportunity for Marquette General and the Upper Peninsula,” said Brad Cory, Chair of the Marquette General Health System Board of Trustees. “As part of Duke LifePoint, we will have the ability to improve the quality of healthcare in the Upper Peninsula, strengthen Marquette General financially and expand our role in the region, working with other Upper Peninsula hospitals.” Over the next two to four months, Marquette General and Duke LifePoint will examine all aspects of the proposed acquisition and negotiate a definitive agreement. Once definitive agreement is reached, the transaction will be subject to various government approvals, including a thorough review process by the Michigan Attorney General. “Our board carefully reviewed strategic options with organizations from across the country, and Duke LifePoint is clearly the best match for Marquette General and the communities we serve,” said Judy Watson-Olson, Vice-Chair of the MGHS Board. “Duke LifePoint’s team shares our dedication to quality healthcare in this region and commitment to our patients, employees and physicians. Together, we will be able to ensure that Marquette General is here caring for and serving our community for generations to come.” Duke LifePoint combines LifePoint's extensive operational resources and experience in successfully managing 54 community-based hospitals across the country with Duke's renowned expertise and leadership in the development of patient safety and clinical quality systems. Marquette General will become the fourth hospital in the Duke LifePoint network and the first in Michigan.