Patient Centered: Southern NH Health’s McHugh reflects on mission, health care environment 

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Colin McHugh, president and CEO of Southern NH Health. Courtesy Photo

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MANCHESTER, NH – With a background that includes leadership experience at some of the region’s most significant health care providers as well as insurers, Colin McHugh brings a broad perspective to the table as president and CEO of Southern NH Health. And while some areas of medicine – particularly how it is paid for – can be increasingly complex, McHugh’s laser focus is ensuring that the patient and their individual needs remain front and center.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to provide high quality, compassionate, value-based care to those we serve,” he said.

Named to this current post earlier this year, McHugh joins SNHH from SolutionHealth (the regional health system created when SNHH and Elliot Health System combined in 2018) where he has been serving as senior vice president and chief value officer since 2019. During that time, McHugh also served as interim president of SNHH in 2020.

During a recent visit with Medical Matters, McHugh frequently uses words like “community-based care” when espousing SNHH’s daily mission. “We’ve worked hard to create a system of care and services delivered locally,” he says. “Ideally, people should not have to travel too far for their care, and hopefully recover at home. As a system, we have worked hard to create local clinical collaborations aligned with the needs of our patients.”

As is the case with many health care leaders, McHugh allows that “affordability of care is one of the things that keeps me awake some nights.”  To that end, much of the work that SNHH has undertaken over the past few years has been around chronic care management and interventions where needed. “We’re working daily to engage and empower patients as health care consumers to give them the tools and resources they need to live better, healthier lives,” he added.

As part of increased patient engagement, McHugh says that the health system has made “significant” investments in the areas of telehealth and electronic medical records. “We’re providing a digital front door to our patients,” he noted.

Also high on McHugh’s list of concerns is the health care workforce shortage. “No question, recruitment and retention are critical in this environment,” he said. “We feel we offer very competitive wages, training, a tremendous workplace culture, and an opportunity to build a career.”

Prior to joining Solution Health, McHugh served in executive posts at MaineHealth where he served in multiple leadership roles, including senior vice president of network development and contracting and interim president & CEO of Synernet, Inc, and at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield where he served as vice president of provider engagement and contracting.

Having seen the contracting issue from both sides of the table, McHugh has a keen understanding of nuances between providers and payers. “We have excellent relationships with all of the major insurers,” he says. “It is a trust relationship.”

A native of Manchester, McHugh says “for me this [role] is a homecoming of sorts, it’s wonderful to be part of this community again.”

To learn more about the programs and services at Southern NH Health, please visit:


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About this Author

Chris Dugan

Chris Dugan is a regular contributor to Manchester Ink Link and writes the Medical Matters column.