Contributed by Barbara Kravitz, REDC CEDS Committee Member and RPC Commissioner
The increase in strategic affiliations by New Hampshire hospitals in the form of acquisitions and/or mergers during the past five years is confirmation of the trend toward hospital consolidations nationwide. REDC recognizes the resulting changes significantly impact economic development in our region, deserving of attention in the CEDS.
Acquisition activity in the region includes the purchase of Portsmouth Regional Hospital (PRH) by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) based in Nashville, Tennessee. PRH, Parkland Medical Center in Derry, NH, and Frisbee Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NH, have been consolidated into the HCA Healthcare Capital Division. Additionally, Exeter Health Resources, the parent organization of Exeter Hospital, has signed a letter of intent to explore the opportunity for aligning with Beth Israel Lahey Health.
In 2016, Wentworth Douglas Hospital (WDH), located in Dover, NH, was acquired by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. MGH executives described the rationale for this transaction as integral to the hospital’s commitment to provide an integrated healthcare system, improved quality of care, and access to world-renowned specialty and emergency care directly to Seacoast residents close to home. WDH executives confirmed that patients would have access to a wider range of medical services and expertise including in-Boston hospital beds, when necessary, doctors from both hospitals working as teams, economy of scale, and savings through the parent company purchasing power. Patients’ records in both hospitals would be merged into a new data and reports system. MGH would be better enabled to concentrate on its expertise in medical research while gaining market share.
This MGH/WDH transaction received a favorable determination by the New Hampshire Charitable Trusts Unit enabling the hospitals to proceed with the merger. WDH will keep its name but develop a new logo incorporating MGH. A significant outcome of the MGH/WDH combination on the seacoast is the expansion of services within the three-building Outpatient Center at Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth, NH.
Assistant Manager for Economic Development for the City of Portsmouth, Sean Clancy, affirms that the MGH affiliation with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital a is a positive development. “…HCA/Portsmouth Regional Hospital expanding north to Dover, and now with Frisbee Memorial Hospital in Rochester, provide expanded/additional world class healthcare and doctors in our region. These large investments provide additional care, support, and choice for NH citizens while eliminating the need for travel (in many cases) to Boston or beyond.”