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New Hampshire hospitals, Mass General fight for merger

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., and Exeter (N.H.) Health Resources are launching a public engagement effort seeking to gain support for a merger with Massachusetts General Hospital, according to fosters.com.

Massachusetts General Hospital, the flagship hospital of Boston-based Partners HealthCare, announced in May 2018 that it planned to acquire Exeter (N.H.) Health Resources. Under the plan, Exeter would merge with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, which Massachusetts General acquired in 2017, to form a new nonprofit system.

The New Hampshire attorney general's charitable trusts unit issued a report Sept. 20 objecting to the deal, saying the proposed transaction would likely decrease competition and increase healthcare costs.

"It is critical that we have a dialogue about how we could address their concerns," Mark Whitney, vice president for strategy at Exeter Health Resources, said in a Nov. 14 statement to the New Hampshire Union Leader. "There is too much at stake for future patients on the Seacoast of New Hampshire."

The hospitals said they would use print, radio and digital means to provide information about the proposed transaction and ways for the public to contact elected officials, according to the report.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said the investigation into the proposed transaction continues.

"While the parties pursue their public affairs campaign, our investigation remains ongoing," he told fosters.com. "Our decisions will rest on the law as applied to the facts and circumstances of this proposed transaction. Our most important duty is to protect the public. We will not hesitate to use the enforcement tools available to us to preserve competition and to protect the public from escalating health care costs."

The three hospitals said they would move forward with seeking approval for the transaction from the Federal Trade Commission, according to fosters.com.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions:

Welltower strikes $787M deal for medical office portfolio
UPMC acquires second hospital in Ireland
CommonSpirit divests KentuckyOne Health

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