LAURIUM - The Wausau, Wis.-based Aspirus health system has expanded again in the western Upper Peninsula, and officials with Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital think the growth will benefit local residents, also.
On Oct. 1, Grand View Health System in Ironwood will become Aspirus Grand View, and Chuck Nelson, Aspirus Keweenaw CEO, said that addition will make health care in the western U.P. stronger.
"It will provide greater depth for centers of care," he said.
Grand View has 403 employees and operates a surgical center, two eye centers, a walk-in clinic, physical therapy and a home health care division, which Nelson said is comparable to what Aspirus Keweenaw offers locally.
"Levels of service at the facility in Ironwood are similar," he said.
Because of that similarity, Nelson said he doesn't expect local residents would be sent to Ironwood, except under certain circumstances.
"There could be (referrals) among some of the specialists," he said.
Nelson said patients at both facilities will still be sent to Wausau for tertiary care such as cardiac surgery.
Nelson said with the addition of Grand View, the Aspirus system will increase its ability to provide care in oncology, obstetrics, orthopedics and women's health.
Dave Olsson, Aspirus Keweenaw director of strategic marketing and growth, said although there may be no sharing of patients between Ironwood and Laurium, except in certain situations, the addition of Grand View makes the Aspirus system stronger.
"We actually have a system that has mutual investment in each other," he said.
With the addition of Grand View, Olsson said between Keweenaw, Grand View and Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital, which was acquired in 2006, the system now has 1,200 employees and $100 million in operating revenue. With the increase in resources, it can achieve a "greater critical mass."
"The western U.P. has a level of care (it) didn't have before," he said. "Alone we won't be able to do things we can do now."
Kurt Hauglie can be reached at khauglie @mininggazette.com.