Southwestern Vermont Health Care moves to join Dartmouth network

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The affiliation would give the smaller community entry to a shared digital medical report platform and joint buying, amongst different advantages, it says. File photograph by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Dartmouth Well being community’s already giant affect within the Vermont well being care market is more likely to develop subsequent yr with the addition of Southwestern Vermont Well being Care.

The board of trustees of the smaller community, which features a hospital in Bennington and medical clinics in Manchester, Pownal and Wilmington, authorized an “integration settlement” in late November that might enable it to change into a member of Dartmouth Well being, based on an e-mail to employees from SVHC’s president and chief working officer first reported by the Bennington Banner.

“Over the subsequent 90 days, each organizations shall be assembly with state officers and regulators, so we will formally shut on the settlement,” the e-mail mentioned. 

Dartmouth Well being is the father or mother group of Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic and Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, which kind Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Middle in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and greater than two dozen different nonprofit and for-profit entities. These embrace Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor and different smaller hospitals in New Hampshire in Lebanon, New London and Keene, all of which have change into affiliated during the last 15 years.

Dartmouth Well being community is roughly the identical dimension as UVM Well being Community when it comes to staff and sufferers served, however roughly three-quarters of Dartmouth’s sufferers come from New Hampshire. It serves a a lot smaller share of sufferers from Vermont than the UVM community, however that could be altering.

Southwestern Vermont Well being Care has been working intently with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Middle for a decade. Its clinics in Manchester and Wilmington already are branded as Dartmouth Well being clinics. Its most cancers middle and several other different medical departments are already collectively operated by the medical middle and physicians throughout the area are all affiliated with Dartmouth Hitchcock, a tutorial medical middle with ties to the Geisel College of Medication at Dartmouth School.

Southwestern Vermont Well being Middle’s better “integration” into the Dartmouth Well being community would supply a number of further advantages to its 75,000 sufferers, based on statements from each organizations. Sufferers largely come from Bennington and Windham counties in Vermont and jap New York’s Rensselaer County and Berkshire County in northwestern Massachusetts.

Particularly, changing into a member of Dartmouth Well being would enable Southwestern Vermont Medical Middle to change into a “regional referring hospital” and to combine with Dartmouth’s digital medical report platform. The transfer would enable SVHC to “take part in quite a few initiatives akin to joint buying, enlargement of telemedicine companies, training and analysis to call just a few,” SVHC’s assertion mentioned.

Though the Inexperienced Mountain Care Board regulates hospitals, it doesn’t have oversight of 

affiliations. The first regulatory hurdle to the combination settlement seems to doubtlessly be a overview by the Vermont Legal professional Common’s Workplace’s Public Safety Division. 

As a result of SVMC is a nonprofit company, such a overview can be triggered if the settlement includes the switch of “all, or considerably all,” of its property to a different group, mentioned Lauren Jandl, the Legal professional Common’s Workplace’s chief of employees. The overview would look solely at whether or not the switch is according to the unique nonprofit’s mission and any restrictions on the property. 

SVMC employees declined to reply how the affiliation would influence its governance and debt construction. Southern Vermont Medical Middle is halfway by means of a $28 million enlargement and improve of its emergency division.

New Hampshire legislation permits its Legal professional Common’s Workplace’s Charitable Belief Unit to conduct a extra stringent overview of transfers between well being care nonprofits, together with consideration of whether or not the transaction is in the most effective curiosity of the group being served. It was beneath that customary that the workplace denied an settlement that might have allowed an affiliation between Manchester’s Catholic Medical Middle and Dartmouth Well being earlier this yr, discovering that the affiliation would “adversely influence competitors.”

Current analysis has persistently proven that consolidation amongst well being care suppliers is linked to elevated prices charged to insurers. Individuals spend roughly twice as a lot on well being care on a per capita foundation as different equally developed international locations.

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