Day 2 #RideMI Motorcycle Tour: Peters Tours CertainTeed in Baraga County and Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital in Ontonagon County

ONTONAGON, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters began the second day of his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour with a tour of CertainTeed in L’Anse. CertainTeed manufactures versatile ceiling tiles featuring a range of sizes, textures, edge details and acoustic ratings for a variety of applications. It is the largest manufacturer in Baraga County, employing roughly 150 Michiganders.

“Manufacturing is in Michigan’s DNA and it plays a critical role in boosting local economies and creating good-paying jobs,” said Senator Peters. “I was pleased to visit CertainTeed’s facility and have the opportunity to see the unique and innovative work they are doing to develop and produce sustainable ceiling tiles.”

“As one of the largest manufacturers in Baraga County, we are pleased to welcome Senator Peters to the area and show him around our facility,” said Robert Miller, Plant Manager – CertainTeed Ceilings L’Anse Facility. “CertainTeed is proud to be providing jobs and making high quality ceiling products that contribute to sustainable, comfortable and healthy interior environments while contributing to the economic growth in the region. It was great to have Senator Peters see firsthand how we’re supporting the community.”

CertainTeed, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest and oldest building products companies, was originally founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company. CertainTeed’s L’Anse facility produces ceiling tiles that are primarily manufactured with recycled newsprint, agricultural products and mineral wool, a byproduct of the metal refining process. Peters discussed his bipartisan efforts to strengthen our nation’s role as a leader in innovative manufacturing by supporting small and medium-sized manufacturers.

After visiting CertainTeed, Peters traveled to Ontonagon County where he toured Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital. On the tour, Peters saw the hospital’s new emergency health department and the facilities where health professionals conduct telehealth services that allow patients to make checkup appointments with specialists outside of their local area or Michigan.

“Residents of the Upper Peninsula and other rural communities rely on the quality care provided by rural hospitals,” said Senator Peters. “Health care systems such as Aspirus Ontonagon are providing care through innovative programs, like emergency medicine and telehealth services, to treat patients in rural areas and help save Michiganders time and money by allowing them to make follow up visits remotely and avoid traveling long distances to receive care.”

“It was great to welcome Senator Peters to Ontonagon County and the Western Upper Peninsula. Aspirus is committed to providing local access to excellent, compassionate care across the region,” said Mike Hauswirth, Chief Executive Officer at Aspirus Ontonagon and Aspirus Keweenaw. “One of our top priorities is ensuring strong support and funding for rural health care clinics and critical access hospitals. For many residents of Ontonagon and the Western UP, the small local clinic and hospital setting is the only way to get the immediate care they need and deserve. We appreciate Senator Peters’ support and look forward to working with him to continue support for excellent rural health care into the future.”

Currently, Medicare covers limited telehealth services, setting a poor industry standard, discouraging innovation, and restricting access to specialized services. Earlier this year, Senator Peters reintroduced the bipartisan Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow eligible hospitals to test telehealth services through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Additionally, it directs CMMI to review and independently evaluate telehealth models for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care without increasing the cost of delivery. If the telehealth model meets this criteria, then the model will be covered through the greater Medicare program.

Aspirus Ontonagon is part of the Wisconsin-based Aspirus Network, a nonprofit organization that operates hospitals and clinics throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. In the Upper Peninsula, Aspirus operates Critical Access Hospitals and clinics in Keweenaw, Ironwood, Iron River and Ontonagon Counties.

Tomorrow Peters continues his #RideMI Motorcycle Tour with visits to Gogebic and Iron Counties. Peters will stop in Ironwood to visit Jacquart Fabric Products, a custom upholstery and fabric production company. He will also stop in Iron River to tour Lake Shore Systems, a defense manufacturer that builds components for the U.S. military.