Dickinson County Healthcare (DCH) in Iron Mountain, Mich., and Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) have signed a Letter of Intent for DCH hospital and clinics to join Marshfield Clinic.

The partnership will focus on expanding locally-provided outpatient surgeries, supporting DCH’s large pediatric team with Marshfield Children’s Hospital and growing DCH’s primary care provider team with the MCHS provider recruiting network.

It will also enhance emergency services.

Another key element of the partnership is the construction of a new Cancer Center.

The next step is for the organizations to develop a definitive affiliation agreement, which is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year.

Final closing would occur in 2022.

Susan Turney, CEO of MCHS, said the new partnership will transform rural health care in the Iron Mountain region.

“Many patients across rural America have little or no access to public transit and drive an hour or more for even routine care. In Michigan and Wisconsin, that means long distances on icy winter roads,” Turney said. “Our integrated model allows us to deliver the full continuum of health care and services in small, rural communities.”