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      Local Hospital Joins McLaren Health Care Network

      Northern Michigan Regional Hospital has partnered with a hospital downstate and believes it is the best solution to keep, and even expand, services in Northern Michigan.

      The deal partnering Northern Michigan Regional Hospital with McLaren Health Care of Flint is in place tonight.

      For several years, Northern Michigan Regional Hospital has searched for a solution or a partner to help its financial situation.

      The president believes McLaren is the best fit for the future.

      "It??s a historic day," explains President and CEO of Northern Michigan Regional Hospital Reezie DeVet.

      And DeVet says this is a day where she can breathe a sigh of relief. For the past few years, the hospital has lost money and been forced to stop some services. But a new deal with Flint-based McLaren Health Care is an investment for the future.

      ??We could sustain ourselves as a hospital, but we would probably be much smaller and not nearly have the range of services that we are able to provide, so this really looks at not just the sustainability now, but we're really looking at 5, 10, 20, and 30 years and the response to health reform," says DeVet.

      The hospital signed a letter of intent with McLaren in July and the deal was finalized this week. Northern Michigan Regional Hospital will continue to be operated locally, but will have the financial backing of McLaren and will have better buying power for supplies and equipment which DeVet says will save millions.

      ??Definitely what we will look at is not only sustaining what we have at this time, but are there other services that this area needs with what we might be doing in conjunction with McLaren and Northern Michigan," says DeVet.

      The hospital will work to better serve seniors and bring back some services like mental health. But certain services, like the neo-natal unit, will likely not return. For the 1700 employees, this is an important day

      ??This is so exciting to our colleagues because they can look forward to this organization being here," says DeVet.

      As Northern Michigan Regional Hospital board members looked at the future of this organization, they said one thing stood out with McLaren, and that's their hope to grow and strengthen.

      One thing that DeVet says could happen is services, such as the hospital??s IT Department, could be outsourced.

      She says McLaren is good at hiring companies that will look at the hospital employees before hiring somebody new.