Littleton Regional Healthcare's (LRH) board of trustees voted to withdraw from its affiliation with North Country Healthcare (NCH). According to a statement from LRH, the timing of the announcement is because the original agreement allows each of the NCH hospitals to withdraw during a short period following the third anniversary of the affiliation, which if not exercised, results in permanent affiliation. The withdrawal will be complete after April 1.
North Country Healthcare was established in 2015 to create a nonprofit health care system in Northern New Hampshire. The collaboration included Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Littleton Regional Healthcare, North Country Home Health and Hospice, Weeks Medical Center and Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital.
The largest of the four affiliates, LRH employs more than 500 health care professionals offering 50 specialty services with an annual operating budget of $95 million.
"We appreciate our NCH colleagues and look forward to future opportunities to work together on mutually beneficial projects. The goals of the affiliation have been closely evaluated since the agreement was implemented," sais Robert Nutter, LRH president. "We have concluded that because of our different strategies and distinctive communities served, these goals can best be achieved independently."
North Country Healthcare issued a statement: "Despite their collective surprise and disappointment by Littleton Regional Healthcare’s recent announcement of its intent to withdraw from the North Country Healthcare system, North Country Healthcare and its member institutions ... remain committed to continuing the affiliation and achieving the overall NCH mission of providing high quality, accessible and integrated health care to their communities.
“Individually and collectively, we continue to be focused on the best interests of our patients and employees,” said Jim Hamblin, chair of NCH board of trustees. “Residents of and visitors to the North Country can rest assured that our priorities of providing outstanding healthcare and a supportive working environment remain unchanged.”
"The NCH affiliation agreement requires all parties to conduct a deliberate review of issues that may arise as the result of a withdrawal notice,” said Hamblin. “We trust that all parties who may interact with any or all parts of the system during this review period will respect these important contractual obligations.”