Media Releases

Portage Health signs letter of intent to form joint venture with LifePoint Hospitals

(Services, Foundation) Permanent link

Potential partnership will help strengthen healthcare delivery in the Western Upper Peninsula 

Hancock, Michigan (February 28, 2013) – The Portage Health Board of Directors today announced it has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with LifePoint Hospitals®. The proposed partnership will provide Portage Health with additional resources to expand the healthcare services provided in its communities and invest further in the growth of the hospital.

The letter of intent is a non-binding agreement that authorizes Portage Health and LifePoint to move forward with pursuing the proposed joint venture. Following due diligence and a negotiation process, which is projected to take 60 to 90 days, the parties would enter into a definitive agreement. The agreement would then be subject to review by of the Attorney General of Michigan before being finalized.

“We selected LifePoint as a partner because of its commitment to physicians, employees, and community,” said Steve Zutter, chairman of the Portage Health board. “As part of this joint venture, Portage Health would share ownership and governance of our system while benefiting from financial resources, clinical and quality programs, and management expertise of one of the leading hospital companies in the nation. Together with LifePoint, we have a great opportunity to enhance the outstanding, innovative care provided throughout the Western Upper Peninsula.”

Under the terms of the proposed partnership, Portage Health and LifePoint would share ownership and governance of the hospital. Portage Health and LifePoint would share ownership of the hospital, with LifePoint obtaining the majority ownership interest. Governance would be equally shared between Portage Health and LifePoint, giving the community a long-term voice in the strategic direction of the hospital. The retained assets of Portage Health and the proceeds from the transaction would be used to create a locally-governed charitable foundation that would fund organizations that support crucial community needs.

“Portage Health is known for its quality service, commitment to patients and dedication to its communities. We are delighted at the prospect of partnering with Portage,” said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. “We look forward to working with the Portage board, management, employees and medical staff to explore new ways to expand and enhance healthcare services in the Western U.P. and strengthen the healthcare delivery system throughout the region.”

LifePoint is a leading hospital company focused on providing quality healthcare close to home. The joint venture with Portage Health will expand LifePoint’s presence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In September 2012, Duke LifePoint Healthcare, the innovative joint venture partnership between LifePoint and Duke University Health System, acquired Marquette General Health System in Marquette.

“LifePoint has shown a tremendous commitment to strengthening healthcare delivery in the U.P. and partnering with providers to enhance the services we provide and ensure patients have access to the care they need and deserve locally,” said Jim Bogan, Portage Health President and CEO. “We are eager to explore this joint venture further and more closely examine the benefits it can offer our hospital and the future of healthcare in our communities.”

About Portage Health 

Portage Health’s mission is to improve the health of the community by providing high quality, safe and compassionate healthcare. Portage Health owns and operates a 36-bed acute-care hospital and a 60-bed skilled nursing unit and related health care services in Hancock-Houghton, Michigan, along with nine other locations throughout the Copper Country, each offering a variety of services provided by a full spectrum of healthcare professionals. More information about Portage Health can be found at 

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Spring fitness class schedule finalized

(Events) Permanent link

The Portage Health Fitness Center has finalized its list of fitness classes for the spring session, which runs from March 4 until May 25.

The new schedule includes two new classes, Moga (yoga for men) and Kettlebell Pump (strength training using kettlebells).

“We are excited to offer two new classes based on interest from our community,” said Angela Luskin, community health coordinator at Portage Health. “Both of these classes will be a lot of fun, and push people to try new things.”

The new schedule includes all of the classics including indoor cycling, zumba, Pilates, yogalates and more.

“Our spring schedule offers a ton of variety,” Luskin said. “We have classes that will fit into everyone’s lifestyle and availability.”

The full schedule of classes is listed below, and available at Call (906) 483-1149 for more information or to sign up.

Moga (Yoga designed specifically for men)
Tuesday and Thursday, 12-1 p.m.

Kettlebell Pump (Work on improving your strength in this fun Kettlebell class)
Tuesday and Thursday, 6:45-7:30 p.m.

Indoor Cycling
Tuesday and Thursday, 6-7 a.m.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8-8:45 a.m.
Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8-9 a.m.
Sunday (until March 24), 2-3:30 p.m.

Cycle Fusion
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6-7 a.m.
Saturday, 9:15-10:15 a.m.

Core Cycle
Tuesday and Thursday, 4:30-5:15 p.m.

TRX/Kettlebell Fusion
Monday and Wednesday, 4:30-5:15 p.m.

Monday and Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Core Combo
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10-10:45 a.m.

Pilates Plus
Monday, 9-10 a.m.

Mat Pilates
Friday, 9-10 a.m.

Tuesday and Thursday, 8-8:45 a.m.

Wednesday, 9-10 a.m.

Heart Health by the Numbers presentation cancelled due to weather

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Tonight's Heart Health by the Numbers presentation scheduled for 5:30 has been canceled due to weather. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Anyone who is awaiting results from the free lipid screenings last week should get their results from the Portage Health Fitness Center in Houghton. Please call (906) 483-1153 if you have further questions.

Portage Health Trauma Center one of two in state verified as Level III

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

The Portage Health Trauma Center has once again been verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as a Level III Trauma Center. Portage Health is one of only two trauma centers in Michigan to receive this verification, and is the only one in the Upper Peninsula.

Portage Health Trauma Center“Our focus has always been, and will continue to be, on quality,” said Jim Bogan, president/CEO of the hospital. “The ACS recognizes this, and has once again validated our efforts to provide the highest quality healthcare possible.”

The re-verification comes from the ACS’s committee on trauma, and is meant to recognize the trauma center’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients. All ACS verified trauma centers complete an on-site review by an experienced team who use the latest ACS guidelines.

“This isn’t something we have to do, this is something we choose to do” Bogan said. “This proves to ourselves, and our patients that we’re providing top-level care.”

There are a total of 32 trauma centers in Michigan recognized by the ACS, which includes three levels. Marquette General (Level II) is the only other verified U.P. hospital.

“We spend a lot of time making sure everything we do will help us provide optimal care for our patients,” said Vicki Peterson, unit manager of the emergency department. “The guidelines are strict, and everyone in our department, along with every member of our trauma team is proud to see that we continue to be recognized by the ACS.”

The trauma center was originally verified on Jan. 7, 2007. At the time, it was the only verified Level III Trauma Center in the state. The ACS verification is for three years. Portage Health has now been verified three times, 2007, 2010, 2013. Learn more about the verification process and see a full list of verified hospitals nationwide at

Shifra joins family medicine staff in Ontonagon

(Staff) Permanent link

The Ontonagon Community Health Center recently welcomed Rebecca Shifra, FNP, to its staff of family-medicine providers. Shifra joins Dr. Gerald Takala at the clinic, which is co-operated by Portage Health and Marquette General Health System.

Rebecca Shifra, FNP“My goal is to get to know my patients and work with them to maximize their health,” Shifra said. ”I like working with patients to develop an individualized plan of preventative care to get the best results.”

Shifra attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton and Oakland University in Rochester for her undergraduate education. She worked in downstate Michigan and northern Wisconsin as a registered nurse. Advanced studies led Shifra to complete her master’s degree at Concordia University Wisconsin. Shifra is extremely excited about the opportunity to provide high quality rural health in Ontonagon.

“I was raised in the Upper Peninsula and am happy to say that my husband and I returned many years ago to raise our family here and run a family business,” she said. “Since arriving in Ontonagon, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the wonderful people of this area.”

Shifra is currently accepting new patients. Call (906) 884-4120 to make an appointment. Learn more about Shifra by visiting


500 Campus Drive
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