Health Care at Home — Hospitals' Strengths

Outmigration is a major problem for Upper Peninsula hospitals.

If patients are going to remain in the U.P. for treatment, hospitals need to provide reasons to stay.

So what are some of the areas in which U.P. hospitals excel?

Two years ago, Portage Health in Hancock became the first hospital in the western U.P. to offer molecular diagnostic services, through GeneXpert technology.

More recently, it’s addressed a medical specialty that patients in the Keweenaw were leaving the area to receive treatment in.

CEO Jim Bogan says the hospital has added two new orthopedic surgeons within the last few months and will be welcoming another one this summer.

Marquette General is known for the high quality of its breast imaging services.

It’s recently been recognized as one of the best places in America to go for a mammogram, a breast MRI or a stereotactic breast biopsy.

The American College of Radiology recently declared MGH a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.

Dr. Heidi Henry, a breast imaging radiologist at MGH, says that’s important because as a patient, you don’t know how well a hospital or cancer center performs breast imaging procedures, so the award serves as a guide.

About six months ago, Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain added a service that is receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews.

CEO John Schon says it’s a hospitalist service, a team of physicians who only perform inpatient care.

And as we’ll see later on in our “Health Care at Home” series, it’s helping the hospital retain patients.

Like several other U.P. hospitals, OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba has a dedicated sleep center.

Their center has four sleep labs, and the labs can address the sleep–related issues of a large group of patients that no other hospital in the U.P. can serve.

OSF St. Francis community relations and development manager Lanna Scannell says their sleep center can perform sleep studies for children with the help of a board-certified pediatric sleep specialist.

She says that service is not often found in communities of Escanaba’s size.

Since a name change in 2009, NORTHSTAR Health System in Iron River has re–invested a great deal of money in itself.

New physicians, a new emergency room and new comfort amenities like improved dining and privacy areas for patients are some of the changes.

NORTHSTAR CEO Bruce Rampage says they’ve invested in technology that a critical access hospital like itself often doesn’t have, such as a slice CT and digital mammography.

We’ll see and hear more about that investment tomorrow night.