SolutionHealth offers refresher on collaboration

SNH and Elliot hospitals host public forum for community input.

NASHUA – The first public hearing to gather community input on the proposed combination of Southern New Hampshire Health System and Elliot Health System to create SOLUTIONHEALTH was hosted in Nashua Wednesday night.

Attendees took to their seats inside the auditorium of Nashua High School North to listen to a brief overview of the nature of the proposed health system, and what the two institutions are trying to accomplish. Following this refresher, people who had signed up to speak had the first chance to pose questions and comments, before allowing others who hadn’t signed up the opportunity to also have a chance to have their voice heard.

In delivering that refresher, President and CEO of Southern New Hampshire Health System Mike Rose said, “Tonight our most important goal is to hear from you.”

President and CEO of Elliot Health System Doug Dean said he thinks the relationship between the two institutions is essential in meeting the expectations of providing full services to the communities of Nashua and Manchester.

“I think Mike and I couldn’t be more proud of our boards for their willingness to venture into a relationship that’s complex, but will enable the two hospitals to meet growing demands,” Dean said.

He said with New Hampshire being the second oldest state in the country with a growing population of those people who are over the age of 50, the Granite State makes for a wonderful destination for people to retire. He said that’s great news for the state, but also translates into an enormous demand.

From primary care to surgical services, the demand is growing faster than predicted.

“So, we decided there needs to be a better way,” Dean said.

Under SOLUTIONHEALTH, Elliot and SNHH will continue on as two separate entities.

“Each would keep their respective names, with separate hospital licenses and largely continue as they are today, but within (the) SOLUTIONHEALTH system,” Rose said.

Also, both entities would have their own respective boards and SOLUTIONHEALTH would have a board, as well. The SOLUTIONHEALTH board would consist of 11 trustees, five of which are nominated by SNHH and five from Elliot. The final trustee will be the CEO of SOLUTIONHEALTH, and that individual will be elected by the SOLUTIONHEALTH board.

Following the overview, Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, took to the podium first to voice her support to both the audience and the panel, which consisted of Dean, Rose, Chief Medical Officer for SNHH Dr. Rob Dorf and Chief Medical Officer for Elliot Dr. Greg Baxter.

“SNHH has long been a major contributor to our community, as has Elliot in Manchester,” Lasky said. “On behalf of the Senate, we look forward to these two institutions joining to be an even bigger force in the region. As noted, health care is changing rapidly, and this combination reflects the need for institutions to work more closely together.”

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess also attended the public hearing and took to the podium to express his support for the proposed creation of SOLUTIONHEALTH.

Speaking in favor of their combination, Donchess said, “As the challenges and needs of our state grows, it can only benefit us to have a strong combination between great medical providers like SNHH and Elliot,” adding that, “I hope you can complete the transaction as soon as possible and get on with the future of strong medicine for

New Hampshire.”

For those who were unable to make Wednesday’s hearing in Nashua, a second one is scheduled Jan. 18 in Manchester at the Derryfield Country Club, 625 Mammoth Road.

Like the first public hearing, doors will open at 5:45 p.m., and the event will begin at 6. Also, there is the option to make comments and pose questions online at their website under the “Your Voice” section, www.nhregionalhealthcare.org/contact.html.

More information can also be found online at www.nhregionalhealthcare.org/index.html.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.