New London affiliates with DHA

by Matthew Abbott | 10/13/05 5:00am

Approximately 30,000 people in the Connecticut Valley region can anticipate better medical care due to the recent affiliation of New London Hospital with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance.

The DHA is a group of twelve independent health care providers that work together to improve patient care and monetary savings through the joint purchase of supplies and services.

"The principal goal of the Alliance is to improve coordination of care for patients throughout the Connecticut Valley region," DHA Vice President for Regional Planning Steve Marion said.

New London Hospital, located in central New Hampshire, provides primary care and specialized clinical services to patients in the Lake Sunapee region.

Vice President of Community Affairs at New London Hospital Susan Bryant estimates that New London Hospital will save between $300,000 and $350,000 in the first year due to its affiliation with the DHA. The most significant savings will come from a reduction in physician and provider malpractice insurance rates.

The hospital will retain its board of directors but will still be able to utilize the resources that the administrators of the DHA offer.

In addition, doctors and staff members at the hospital can anticipate improved communications with their peers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other Alliance hospitals now that New London Hospital is a member of the DHA.

Although resources for employees at New London Hospital will be improved, it is unlikely that patients will notice any changes at the facility.

"We expect the process to be completely transparent to our patients, with nothing operationally different," Bryant said.

New London Hospital began talks with the DHA in 2004, and the DHA Board of Trustees approved the affiliation on September 28. The New Hampshire Attorney General's office reviewed the merger and determined that there are no antitrust issues involved.

The hospital held several forums to solicit community feedback during the process of joining the Alliance. According to both Marion and Bryant, the vast majority of input from community members has been extremely positive and supportive.

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