Media Releases

UP Health System combines clinical excellence with quality care, as Bell, Marquette and Portage hospitals unite

 Permanent link

Hospitals unveil new brand promise and underscore commitment to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

ISHPEMING, Mich. (October 21, 2014) – Bell Hospital, Marquette General Hospital (MGH) and Portage Health celebrated their coming together as a regional health system focused on delivering exceptional patient care through the unveiling of a new name, logo and brand image representing the cohesive service of quality care that is the UP Health System. Bell Hospital and Portage Health are LifePoint Hospitals® and MGH is a part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

The unified messaging combines the experience and services of two historic community hospitals, Bell Hospital and Portage Health, with the tertiary care of MGH to provide exceptional healthcare and value to the UP community. Working together, the UP Health System will improve patient satisfaction and focus on delivering exceptional quality care in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The new logo represents a sense of teamwork and celebrates the opportunities created as Bell, Marquette and Portage facilities move forward with a resolute commitment to quality health services in the UP.

 UPHS Logo Color 300px w 

“These hospitals represent more than three centuries of combined service in the UP and, together as part of Duke LifePoint and LifePoint Hospitals, we see incredible potential for the long-term impact the UP Health System will have in the region as a unified system of care,” UP Health System President Jim Bogan said.  “Today, we are excited to unveil the visual representation of our hospitals’ partnership and celebrate the leaps forward we are all taking to provide exceptional care in our communities.”

The UP Health System boasts a proud history, built on a tradition of quality care in the UP. In the 1800s Bell, Marquette and Portage hospitals each made a promise to provide high-quality care for their communities. Today, that promise is reaffirmed as these hospitals combine to offer improvements both large and small – like new technologies, enhanced services and a deliberate focus on enhancing the delivery of healthcare to the region.

“Together, we are moving confidently into a future of unparalleled expertise, delivered to the communities we remain dedicated to serving,” said Bogan. “It’s not about big business; it’s about a big idea. With the changes happening in healthcare today, the best way for community hospitals to stay community hospitals is to work together to make our communities healthier.”

As a Duke LifePoint hospital, Marquette has announced improvements including a new $280 million, 279-bed hospital and 80,000-square-foot medical office building. In addition, Marquette announced earlier this year its affiliation with Duke Medicine in Heart and Cancer, home of the Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Heart Center, programs respected worldwide for their clinical excellence and research expertise. At Portage, a $60 million commitment to capital improvements from its joint venture with LifePoint Hospitals® is providing significant investments in technology, equipment and improved facilities. Inside Bell, also a LifePoint hospital, a $5 million commitment to capital improvements will result in investments for physician recruitment and retention, increased scope of medical service offerings and investments in hospital infrastructure.

Visually, the community will witness the impact of the UP Health System’s new logo and brand image in the coming months through new facility signage at each hospital, updated websites and a powerful campaign featuring local patients, doctors and community members highlighting the bright future ahead for the UP. More than an updated look and a new name, the new logo clearly demonstrates a bond with and commitment to the region.

About UP Health System

The UP Health System made up of Bell, Marquette and Portage hospitals, and in partnership with LifePoint Hospitals® and Duke LifePoint Healthcare, is a system dedicated to providing exceptional healthcare and value to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The UP Health System brings unparalleled expertise in clinical excellence and quality care to the UP. The UP Health System is making our communities healthier. For additional information, visit

About LifePoint Hospitals®

LifePoint Hospitals® is a leading hospital company focused on providing quality healthcare services close to home. Through its subsidiaries, LifePoint operates more than 60 hospital campuses in 21 states. With a mission of “Making Communities Healthier®,” LifePoint is the sole community hospital provider in the majority of the communities it serves. More information about the Company, which is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, can be found on its website, All references to “LifePoint,” “LifePoint Hospitals®,” or the “Company” used in this release refer to LifePoint Hospitals®, Inc. or its affiliates.

About Duke LifePoint Healthcare

Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals® (NASDAQ: LPNT), was established to build a dynamic network of hospitals and health care providers. The joint venture, which brings together LifePoint's experience in community-based hospital management and Duke's world-renowned leadership in clinical service, is strengthening and improving health care delivery by providing community hospitals the clinical, quality and operational resources they need to grow and prosper. For additional information, visit 

# # #

Portage Health and Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center need your help to increase awareness of respiratory disease in the community

 Permanent link

Portage Health has recently seen an increased rate of respiratory disease, especially in asthmatic children. The illness, being confirmed as enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. EV-D68 is a version of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease resulting in respiratory illness and may or may not be accompanied by the common mouth sores that come with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. 

Children with asthma or occasional asthma symptoms, even if never diagnosed with asthma, are at higher risk for developing severe illness potentially leading to pneumonia and hospitalization.
This virus is already in our community. To keep your child from getting and spreading EV-D68,

  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover Your coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces
  • Stay home when you’re sick

If your child is asthmatic, or has had signs of asthma in the past, our pediatricians recommend,

  • Start taking controller medicine (i.e. inhaled steroids, Singulair), even if no symptoms are present.
  • Start taking rescue medicine as well (i.e. albuterol) if child is showing symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, body and muscle aches, difficulty breathing, wheezing

For more information, see the following related health articles:

Reminder: To continue to protect yourself, your family and your community, please plan on getting your flu shot at the following clinics:

  • Community Flu Shot clinic on September 27 at Hancock High School,
  • Hancock Family Health Center Pediatric Flu Clinics: October 3, October 10, October 21, October 28. Please call for an appointment by calling (906) 483-1700.
  • Or make an appointment for a flu shot by calling your doctor’s office after October 1.

Air Medical Base Opens In Houghton-Hancock

 Permanent link

Valley Med Flight recently opened a fixed-wing airplane air ambulance base in Houghton-Hancock to serve the citizens of the region with quick, high-quality air medical transportation. The airplane and crew will be able to respond to flight requests from Portage Health and other locations throughout the UP. The company also has a fixed-wing base in Iron Mountain and a rotor-wing helicopter base in Escanaba. 

“It is our goal to provide timely patient transportation to all areas of the UP. Although our aircraft in Iron Mountain and Escanaba can also respond to Houghton-Hancock, a permanent base in the area will decrease response times which is much better for the patients who require our services” stated Jake Keller, Valley Med Flight’s Program Director. 

The new air medical base in Houghton-Hancock began transporting patients from the area on July 31st and has been busy during its first few weeks of operation. “We have been very pleased with the support we have received from the hospitals here and look forward to working with them long into the future” explained Keller.

The base will decrease transport times from area hospitals to Marquette General and other receiving locations substantially. The two-hour drive between Houghton-Hancock and Marquette can be completed in just over 20 minutes in the now permanently stationed Valley Med Flight Pilatus PC-12 airplane. 

“The addition of a fixed-wing air ambulance in the Copper Country provides our communities with a critical service in the time of an emergency,” said Diane Torres, Interim CEO at Portage Health. “Our goal is to decrease transport times during these emergencies and we are proud to have Valley Med Flight as our partner.”

About Valley Med Flight

Air Medical Resource Group (AMRG) manages Valley Med Flight. AMRG owns and operates more than 70 aircraft and transports over 11,000 patients per year from 40 bases located in 11 states. More information about Valley Med Flight can be found at

Brianne Sable, PA joins the Cancer Care team at Portage Health

 Permanent link

Sable, Brianne imagePortage Health is excited to announce the addition of a full time provider to our Cancer Care clinic, Brianne Sable, PA. Brianne will be serving patients in the Cancer Care clinic alongside Dr. Lloyd Geddes.

Brianne has a diverse medical background, most recently providing care to patients at Aurora Advanced Healthcare/Aurora Cancer Care in Glendale, WI and Grafton, WI. She obtained her bachelor degree at Northern Michigan University and completed her Physician Assistant Studies at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Manchester, NH.

Brianne is excited to be in a team-oriented environment and strives for comprehensive healthcare for patients.

Portage Health offers a full spectrum of cancer care services, including outpatient chemotherapy, radiology, biopsies, blood transfusions, clinical trials and supportive therapy, pain management, support groups and counseling for patients and families, and nutrition and health education.

Learn more about the program at Learn more about Brianne at

Reid Andress, MD joins the hospitalist team at Portage Health

 Permanent link

Andress, Reid imagePortage Health is proud to welcome Keweenaw native Reid Andress, MD to its hospitalist team. As an adult medicine specialist, Dr. Andress is board certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and will begin seeing patients in the Inpatient Unit starting August 1, 2014.

“After spending nearly a decade outside the Keweenaw, I’m excited to be returning home to care for our community.” Dr. Andress said.

Dr. Andress returns to the area with his wife Emily Kenny, MD, who will be practicing as a women’s health physician in our OB/GYN clinic.

Dr. Andress completed his residency and internship at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME after finishing medical school at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. After residency, Dr. Andress served as the Chief Medical Resident for the Department of Medicine.

“I am privileged to have the opportunity to develop relationships with patients and families during challenging periods in their lives, and enjoy involving them in the medical decision making process,” he said. “I practice evidence based medicine and believe in sharing scientific and medical evidence with patients to help inform their decisions.”

Dr. Andress joins fellow board certified hospitalists Dr. Abdul Mansoor Khokhar, Dr. Terry Kinzel and Dr. Lori Vaughan. Visit to learn more about Dr. Andress.

Portage Health Receives Governor's Award of Excellence

 Permanent link
MPro Governor's Award 2014

Pictured: Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman, Portage Health Registered Nurse Kelly Aho, Portage Health Quality Manager Shannon Lahnala Bleau and MPRO CEO Robert Yellan

Portage Health is pleased to announce it has received MPRO’s 2014 Governor’s Award of Excellence for outstanding achievement in the Prevention Learning and Action Network. To receive this honor, Portage Health improved rates of breast cancer screenings. Portage Health also used electronic health records to effectively implement care management and patient self-management interventions.

“This award demonstrates Michigan’s deep commitment to providing high quality, safe and efficient health care,” said Snyder. “By using proven, evidence-based practices, these organizations are making sure individuals get the right care at the right time.”

This year, 188 Michigan hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes and community coalitions were honored with the award, which recognizes participants for their dedication to improve health care quality and patient safety in Michigan. To be eligible for the award, participating organizations must have achieved, maintained and continually improved in specific and rigorous milestones.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to partner with Portage Health and other dedicated organizations across the state of Michigan,” said MPRO President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Yellan, MPH, J.D, FACHE. “To be able to recognize these accomplishments with the Governor’s office underscores the importance of these efforts to improve health care quality in the state.”

The Governor’s Award of Excellence was developed in 2003. The current award is based upon work from 2012-2014 in the following areas:

  • Reducing health care associated infections
  • Reducing health care acquired conditions in nursing homes 
  • Reducing adverse drug events
  • Integrating care for populations and communities through improving care transitions and coordination
  • Improving preventive care and early diagnosis through immunizations and screening
  • Improving clinical quality measures associated with improving cardiac health
  • Improving clinical quality measures among acute care and critical access hospitals 
  • Reducing disparities of care in cardiac health

The award criteria are based on the National Quality Strategy, Partnership for Patients and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Improvement Organizations’ 10th Statement of Work. The preventive care metrics also align with the Governor’s Healthy Michigan 4X4 plan. 

Award recipients were honored May 9, 2014 at the Eagle Eye Golf Course in Bath Township, MI.

For more information about the Governor’s Award of Excellence, including a list of winners, go to


About MPRO 

MPRO is an independent nonprofit and a national leader in health care quality improvement and medical review. MPRO serves as the federally designated Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for Michigan under contract with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). MPRO also provides consultative services, medical and utilization review, data analysis and health information technology education and technical assistance to federal agencies, state Medicaid and public health agencies, health care facilities, private health plans and other third party payers. For more information, visit

Portage Health welcomes Dr. Tim LaBonte to Lake Linden Family Health Center

 Permanent link

LaBonte, Timothy imageCopper Country native providing family medicine care beginning in August

We are pleased to announce that Tim LaBonte, MD will be joining our team of family medicine providers.

Dr. LaBonte is board certified in family medicine, and will be providing a full spectrum of family medicine care. He will be joining Tom McConnon, MD and Melissa Salani, PA at the Lake Linden Family Health Center.

“We are so excited with the addition of Dr. LaBonte to our team,” said Shannon Richter, director of operations for Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center. “He is highly skilled and is dedicated to creating long lasting relationships with his patients to create personalized care.”

Dr. LaBonte completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan Tech, earned his medical degree at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and completed his residency through the Marquette Family Medicine Residency Program.

“It has always been a passion of mine to come back to the Copper Country to practice medicine,” Dr. LaBonte said. “Portage Health has an excellent group of dedicated professionals and state of the art facilities. I am excited to be a part of it.”

Dr. LaBonte is currently accepting new patients of all ages. Call (906) 483-1030 to make an appointment. Visit to learn more about Dr. LaBonte.


500 Campus Drive
Hancock, MI 49930
(906) 483-1000


921 W. Sharon Avenue
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1777

Express Care 


945 Ninth Street
Lake Linden, MI 49945
(906) 483-1030


751 S. Seventh Street
Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906) 884-4120


600 MacInnes Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1860

CMS Login