AG not blocking hospital merger

Review finds no reason to halt plans despite some concerns

NASHUA – The proposed merger between Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Health System cleared a major hurdle Monday with the completion of a review by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General Gordon McDonald released the reports from the Charitable Trust Unit and the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau prepared following seperate reviews of the proposed merger. While neither review found reason to halt the merger, the Charitable Trust Unit found

causes for concern and further work.

“While the proposed transaction met a number of statutory requirements, the (public notice) lacked detail concerning how the transaction would meet the best interest of the communities’ standard,” McDonald wrote. “Therefore, the CTU Director imposed a number of conditions to ensure that the best interest of the communities is properly addressed in the transaction.”

Nashua’s SNHH and Elliot announced plans to merge operations into “SOLUTIONHEALTH” last year, triggering the statutory review. Despite the concerns from the Charitable Trust Unit, both Doug Dean, CEO of Elliot, and Mike Rose, CEO at SNHH, praised the outcome Monday, saying it clears the way for the completed merger.

“As we work to complete this process, we pledge to our many patients, employees, stakeholders and communities that we will continue to work as openly and effectively as possible in developing the infrastructure necessary to make SolutionHealth a great success, offering solutions to meet the healthcare needs of New Hampshire,” the two CEOs said in a prepared statement.

The two hospitals combined have roughly 500 beds and employ 6,000 people. Elliot was founded in 1890 and SNHH traces its start to 1892.

The facilities serve populations of more than 500,000 people. The new SOLUTIONHEALTH will continue as a nonprofit entity with a new board, composed of members of the Elliot and SNHHS boards, and a new CEO who has yet to be hired.

The two hospitals will now focus on finalizing the combination, seeking formal approval from the state.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or or @Telegraph_DF.