MANCHESTER, NH – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) and GraniteOne Health (GOH) on Thursday announced that they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to combine their two organizations to better serve the health care needs of New Hampshire residents and communities.
According to the terms of the letter of intent the name of the combined system will be “Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne,” which will be governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees (“System Board”) comprised of 9 D-HH appointees and 6 GOH appointees.
While each member of the combined system will fall under the new Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne corporate umbrella, each charitable organization will maintain its unique identity and mission, and be governed by its local board of trustees and managed by its local leadership. In order to implement the combination and unify the system to achieve its stated goals, however, the System Board will have certain “Reserved Powers” to coordinate the conduct of its members, except with respect to the affairs of Catholic Medical Center, over whom the Reserved Powers will be shared with CMC Healthcare System and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester.
Combining health systems should result in no layoffs – and should increase positions, according to the collaborative website, forahealthiernh.org, which has more details about what will change and what will remain.
The non-binding LOI is the first step in a well-defined and lengthy process that involves further due diligence, opportunities for public input, negotiation of final terms, approval by each organization’s Board of Trustees and the Bishop of Manchester, and review by federal and state regulators. As a combined system, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne will seek to:
- Expand access to high-quality care for individuals and families throughout New Hampshire
- Respond to growing demand for inpatient, specialty and sub-specialty services, particularly in southern New Hampshire
- Extend and reinforce health care services in rural communities
- Coordinate and strengthen efforts to address behavioral health and substance use disorder
- Improve the health of populations suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and obesity, leading to better long term health and lowering long term healthcare costs
- Address social determinants of health such as nutrition and food security, access to preventative care, and educational opportunity
“As the health care landscape continues to evolve, it is important for health care systems to evaluate how we can best serve our patients and communities, and prepare for the future so we can continue to provide the high level of care that people expect,” said Joanne M. Conroy, MD, CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. “By combining these two top health care organizations, we would create a patient-focused, unique and unparalleled option for New Hampshire that is responsive to community needs and patients’ desire for cost-effective, high-quality care.”
“For 15 years, our two organizations have worked closely together to improve the lives and health of our patients and their families,” said Joseph Pepe, MD, CEO of GraniteOne Health. “We have complementary visions for what health care in New Hampshire could be. Combining systems would allow us to advance that vision, expanding access to primary and specialty care for all New Hampshire residents, including vulnerable patients and communities.”
The combined system will transform health care delivery in New Hampshire. Catholic Medical Center, one of the members of GraniteOne Health, will continue to adhere to its Catholic model of care while D-HH will continue to serve its patients as it does today in all its existing health care facilities. All organizations within the combined system would also keep their current names, identities, and local leadership.
“I am impressed with the deliberate discussions that have taken place thus far and I believe that this combined system would strengthen Catholic Medical Center’s ability to care for the suffering and sick in our community, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of its Catholic identity,” said the Most Reverend Peter Libasci, Bishop of Manchester. Bishop Libasci and the National Catholic Bioethics Center are actively engaged in this process. According to Dr. Pepe, their participation ensures that “CMC’s Catholic identity will be preserved and our mission will be as strong as ever under the proposed combination.”
“We respect and admire CMC’s historical and unique role in the Greater Manchester community and its Catholic health care mission,” said Dr. Conroy. “Health care is a deeply personal experience and it is important to assure all our patients that they will continue to receive the health care services they want and need, at the place and time they want them. We look forward to a thorough and thoughtful process informed by public input so we can create the kind of health care system that the people of New Hampshire deserve.”
A similar agreement between Elliot Health System and Southern NH Health was announced in Oct. of 2017, forming a non-profit health system known as SolutioNHealth.