NORTHSTAR Health System in Iron River is a 25–bed critical access hospital with more than 300 employees.
The Wisconsin state line is less than 10 miles from NORTHSTAR’s doors.
That means patients can easily head south out of state for treatment if they wish.
To try to combat that, hospital officials and the Board of Directors have invested a great deal of money in the hospital in the last several years.
The facility improvements totaled about $22 million, and NORTHSTAR didn’t stop with capital projects.
CEO Bruce Rampage says they’ve invested in physicians in areas like orthopedics and pediatrics.
One of those new physicians came to NORTHSTAR about three months ago from the South Bend, Indiana area.
But he was already familiar with his new home.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregory Peyer says he and his wife had vacationed in the U.P. for twenty years before they moved here, and they intend to retire here.
The technology involved with orthopedics has advanced tremendously in the last decade or two, and Dr. Peyer was pleased to see that NORTHSTAR has kept pace.
Dr. Peyer says the facility investments helped make up his mind that it would be a good place to work.
And he says the patients who thank him for simply being there are what’s most gratifying about practicing at NORTHSTAR.
He says in the not-too-distant past, orthopedic patients in the Iron County area would have had to travel several hours to Green Bay, Duluth or elsewhere to receive the services they need.
NORTHSTAR changed its name from Iron County Community hospital in 2009.
Rampage says they wanted to reflect the idea that they wish to be seen as a guidepost for care, like a point on a compass.
He also says that in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, NORTHSTAR’s inpatient and outpatient surveys said the hospital should keep doing what it’s doing to provide a perfect patient experience.
Posted by: Mike Hoey