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Rochester-area residents 'energized' in support of Frisbie Memorial

Union Leader Correspondent

December 03. 2013 7:43PM

ROCHESTER — After receiving many letters from residents concerned about losing their doctor, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte was compelled to visit one of the hospitals excluded under the state's Affordable Care Act network.

After touring Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Ayotte spoke with hospital officials and answered questions from department heads and employees Monday afternoon.

Al Felgar, chief executive officer of Frisbie, said he continues to fight to have the hospital and the 80 doctors who work at the 17 offices in the area-wide network included in the state's only health exchange, run by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield N.H.

Currently, 17 of the 26 hospitals in the state are included in Anthem's network, including Concord Hospital, which was recently invited to join after being excluded, according to Felgar.

While the hospital has asked to be heard by the state's Insurance Commission, Felgar said a date for a hearing has not been scheduled.

While the decision remains a state issue, Ayotte said she feels this exclusion runs counter to the intent of increasing competition under health-care reform.

"I've gotten a lot of letters from your community," Ayotte said, adding many area residents and patients of Frisbie are "energized" about the issue.

Ayotte said she's concerned about the exclusion on the community and the health care system as a whole, noting the hospital is one of the city's largest employers.

"Let's face it, you're in a very competitive business, and you've been able to thrive," Ayotte told the employees.

Ayotte said she intends to speak to her counterparts from West Virginia, which is the only other state with one approved insurance network under Affordable Care Act.

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