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Dover, Exeter hospitals to become part of Mass General nonprofit network

Union Leader Correspondent

May 16. 2018 10:00PM
Officials at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover say they are working on a deal with Exeter Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital to better serve the Seacoast community. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

Jeffrey Hughes, vice president and chief strategy officer at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — A new regional nonprofit corporation is being developed to collaboratively deliver health care on the Seacoast.

On Tuesday, officials at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, Exeter Health Resources and Massachusetts General Hospital announced they had signed a letter of intent to form the entity, which has not yet been named.

The nonprofit corporation will serve as the parent to Wentworth-Douglass and Exeter Health Resources and will be a subsidiary of Mass General.

Jeffrey Hughes, vice president and chief strategy officer at Wentworth-Douglass, said this is something the they have been considering for at least six years as they looked at the future of health care.

“We started wrestling with the question of ‘Could we remain a successful stand-alone hospital in the long run?’” Hughes said.

In 2016, Wentworth-Douglass officials announced they were being acquired by Mass General but that the hospital would keep its name and remain an independently licensed not-for-profit, charitable health care organization.

Hughes said between six and nine months ago, Exeter officials reached out to Mass General and the idea for the unique three-way partnership was formed.

“Exeter and Wentworth-Douglass are very similar. Our services don’t really overlap that much but are complimentary,” Hughes said. “I think this is a great marriage of equals.”

Kevin Callahan, president and CEO of Exeter Health Resources, said this is an opportunity for them to grow and meet patient demands.

“Our intention is to improve the health care of our community,” Callahan said. “To do that involves some complex choreography.”

Callahan said for the better part of 100 years, the Exeter organization has been evolving to serve the community. This represents the next step.

Assuming successful results of due diligence, the parties will work together to negotiate and develop a definitive agreement which will be subject to review by state and federal regulatory agencies. The diligence and regulatory review process is expected to take 15 to 18 months, according to a news release.

During this time, community forums will be hosted in the region, and the three health systems will invite residents to ask questions and learn more about the proposed network.

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