Exeter, Wentworth-Douglass, Mass General Committed to Affiliation Deal
By Carol Bailey and William Schleyer
Posted Oct 6, 2019 at 3:01 AM
As the chairs of the boards of trustees for Exeter Health Resources and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, we are disappointed with the decision of the New Hampshire attorney general’s office to object to the proposed affiliation of our two charitable, mission-based health care organizations, and respectfully disagree that moving forward would violate any applicable laws. Our proposed affiliation, which enjoys broad public support, is vital to maintaining the vibrancy of not-for-profit healthcare services on the New Hampshire Seacoast.
Exeter Health Resources, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital want to assure Seacoast residents that we are resolute in our commitment to continue the process of resolving any legitimate state and federal concerns in order to move forward with the proposed affiliation in the best interests of our patients and the communities we serve.
With all that is threatening the future of community-based health care, our boards have concluded that our proposed affiliation is the best way to ensure the Seacoast region continues to enjoy access to high-quality health care.
Further, it is the only way to bring the breadth and depth of advanced clinical services and programs supported by the expertise of Massachusetts General Hospital directly to our communities, including the provision of a level II nursery in the Seacoast for newborns requiring advanced care. Most importantly, our proposal to the state significantly expanded funding for access to community-based mental and behavioral health services as well as significantly expanded substance use disorder treatment. These expanded services are critically necessary in the Seacoast region. Our proposed plan is in complete alignment with New Hampshire’s 10-Year Mental Health Plan and will build on the great work of existing community based mental health service providers. Together our three organizations can do more to serve the complex health care needs of the New Hampshire Seacoast than any one of us can do on our own.
It is our duty to the community as members of our respective boards of trustees that compels us to see this affiliation through to a successful conclusion. This affiliation is critical to the communities we serve.
That is why we will continue to pursue all the necessary approvals to complete this affiliation. Securing and enhancing the future of mission-based health care should be a critical priority for everyone on the New Hampshire Seacoast. While we respectfully disagree with the office of the attorney general, our commitment remains to try to find a way to make this affiliation work for the betterment of our Seacoast residents today and for generations to come.
Carol Bailey is chair of the board of trustees of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. William Schleyer is chair of the board of Exeter Health Resources.