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Affiliation Agreement - Feb 10, 2014

Cheshire Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Boards Approve Next Steps toward Affiliation

Keene, NH – Sharing a common commitment to improving population health and value-based care for the benefit of the citizens of New Hampshire and Vermont, Cheshire Medical Center (Cheshire) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) have negotiated an affiliation agreement, beginning a review process aimed at strengthening the long-standing relationship between the two institutions. Trustees of both Cheshire and D-H recently voted to approve and authorize the affiliation agreement.

Under the affiliation agreement, Cheshire will further align its governance, clinical, financial, and administrative activities with Dartmouth-Hitchcock.  Subject to certain approval powers reserved to D-H, Cheshire Medical Center will retain its status as a separate legal organization that has its own board of trustees, management and employees.

Included in the agreement is the intention of strengthening Cheshire as a regional resource for southwestern New Hampshire and southeastern Vermont, freeing up beds for the level 1 trauma center and tertiary care patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. In addition, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system’s vision of a sustainable health system includes Cheshire participating as a center for population health strategy and practice, in recognition of Cheshire’s focus on population health and its work with the region’s Healthy Monadnock 2020 initiative.

Sylvia McBeth, chair of Cheshire Medical Center/Cheshire Health Foundation board, states, “This agreement will enhance Cheshire’s ability to meet the current and future health needs of the residents of Cheshire County, strengthening the sustainability of the clinical services offered. We will continue to provide our community the highest quality of medical care, and will strengthen our focus on prevention and wellness. We look forward to discussing the affiliation agreement with the community over the next couple of months.” 

The signing of the affiliation agreement begins a due diligence process by both organizations and a regulatory review process by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office and the Director of Charitable Trusts. Cheshire will also host public forums to provide information and answer questions on the affiliation. The dates and locations of the forums will be announced in the coming weeks. The agreement is anticipated to become effective in the fall of 2014.

“Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Cheshire Medical Center have a long history of working together to ensure the health of our population and to innovate in constantly improving the delivery of health care,” says Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and President Dr. James N. Weinstein. “We look forward to strengthening the relationship that already exists between our institutions, to jointly deliver high-quality, high-value care that patients, when well-informed, want and need.”

Cheshire Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock have worked together since 1998, by means of a Joint Operating Agreement involving Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, a multi-specialty group practice that comprises the majority of Cheshire Medical Center’s medical staff. This affiliation agreement is seen as a natural step that will enable both organizations to more effectively pursue a common vision of the future of health care that is based on creating a sustainable health system, focusing on population health, delivering value-based care, and embracing the opportunities provided by new payment models.

Contacts:
Sandie Phipps  
Cheshire Medical Center  
(603) 354-5403     
sphipps@cheshire-med.com  

Rick Adams
Dartmouth-Hitchcock
(603) 653-1910 
clarence.r.adams@hitchcock.org   

ABOUT CHESHIRE MEDICAL CENTER:  Cheshire Medical Center / Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is a nonprofit community hospital and clinic with a mission to lead our community to become the nation's healthiest through our clinical and service excellence, collaboration, and compassion for every patient, every time. Founded by CMC/DHK, Healthy Monadnock 2020 (formerly Vision 2020) is a community-wide health initiative designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the process of becoming the nation's healthiest community by 2020. For information, please call (603) 354-5400 or visit cheshiremed.org.

ABOUT DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK: Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in patient-centered health care and building a sustainable health system. Founded in 1893, the system includes New Hampshire’s only Level 1 trauma center and its only air ambulance service, as well as the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only Children’s Hospital Association-approved, comprehensive, full-service children's hospital. As an academic medical center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock provides access to nearly 1,500 primary care doctors and specialists in almost every area of medicine, as well as world-class research at the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.