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November 28. 2012 11:00PM

Nashua hospital partners with Mass. General

NASHUA - Southern New Hampshire Medical Systems has reached a formal agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital, expanding a working arrangement that has been developing for several years.

"These are the kinds of things that happen in phases," said Andrea Alley, spokeswoman for Southern New Hampshire Medical Systems. "We've been working on different parts of this system to make it work. Now we've reached a point where we know what the successes are and now we can build on those successes."

Administrators and doctors from Southern New Hampshire Medical Systems, which includes Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua and the provider group Foundation Medical Partners, will join Mass General representatives to discuss the affiliation at a news conference Friday.

The agreement involves integrating pediatrics, oncology, digestive health, surgery and cardiovascular care. Formalizing the previous arrangement means easier, more convenient access to services at both major hospitals, Alley said Wednesday.

"Our doctors have been working together for several years. We've used that six years to develop the relationships between the doctors and figure out the best ways to bring the teams together," she said. "All the pieces are in place in those five clinical areas to start expanding those programs and improve the care in Nashua."

The new agreement includes sharing patient records as well as coordinating protocols and procedures. Alley said it is not a merger and both organizations will remain financially independent.

Alley said some Massachusetts General doctors will be practicing in Nashua and patients who are referred to specialists in Boston will have an easier transition.

"The big benefit of this affiliation is when you show up at Mass General they know who you are. So much of health care is a personal experience. This relationship will make it more accessible, easier and more convenient for patients," she said. "All of the medical records are there. All of the Nashua doctors' notes are included in the file. It's not like starting over for the patient."

The agreement follows last week's confirmation that Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Elliot Health System have been discussing ways to collaborate to deliver better health care to patients at a lower cost.

dalden@unionleader.com

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