May 16th, 2013
NEW LONDON, NH - New London Hospital (NLH) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) have negotiated an affiliation agreement, beginning a review process aimed at strengthening the relationship between the two institutions.
Under the affiliation, NLH will integrate its governance and certain clinical, financial and administrative activities with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Subject to certain approval powers reserved to D-HH, the hospital will retain its status as a separate legal organization that has its own board of trustees and management.
The agreement is not a merger or a takeover, as New London Hospital President and CEO Bruce P. King explains, and is intended to secure NLH's future. "We initiated these discussions with a goal of formalizing the already strong relationship between New London Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock," said King. "This agreement will strengthen the clinical services offered by NLH, and offers our community the highest quality of medical care in our region. We look forward to this review period."
Trustees of both NLH and D-HH recently voted to approve and authorize the affiliation in accordance with "mutually agreeable key terms," including integration and collaboration of clinical services and quality improvement efforts, and enhancement of primary and specialty care services to NLH's patients.
King expects the new agreement to enhance and expand NLH's offerings, including additional services in ear, nose, and throat and rheumatology. The agreement will also help fill NLH beds by offering capacity to meet Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's need for non-critical care beds.
"Dartmouth-Hitchcock and New London Hospital share a common mission of improving population health and looking at more efficient ways of delivering health care," says Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and President Dr. James Weinstein. "We look forward to enriching the relationship that already exists between our institutions, for the benefit of all of our patients."
A number of clinical and administrative relationships already exist between the two institutions: NLH recently joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock in its Pioneer ACO program, aimed at providing high-value primary care to Medicare beneficiaries in New Hampshire.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock specialty providers regularly see patients in New London, and NLH is a referring hospital for specialty and tertiary care to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. NLH also has had, since 2003, a management services agreement with D-HH, under which CEO King is compensated by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and "leased" back to NLH.
The filing of the agreement begins lengthy due diligence and regulatory review processes by the NH Division of Charitable Trusts and state anti-trust laws. There will also be a 120-day public comment period, and two public forums on the agreement - one in New London and one in Newport - were held earlier this month.
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