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November 11. 2013 10:19PM

Clinic, Elliot Hospital to collaborate on some services

MANCHESTER — The Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic in Manchester will move its outpatient surgery work to Elliot at River's Edge after the first of the year, part of a collaboration plan that the two hospitals announced Friday.

The heads of the two hospitals announced the change in memos to their staffs on Friday and in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader.

They said the hospitals will collaborate in four principal clinical areas to manage costs and increase quality. They are ambulatory surgery, mental health, gastroenterology and endocrinology.

"This is all about collaboration," said Elliot president and chief-executive Doug Dean. "If we put our strengths together, it will result in higher patient satisfaction, lower costs, escalated quality and a much better model for this community."

Dean said the collaboration involves about 5 percent of Elliot Hospital's activity. The work will only involve outpatient services. He and Jim Weinstein, president and chief-executive of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, said the collaboration is not a merger.

"We're not about market share, we're about taking care of people ... that's the new world that Doug and I want to create for New Hampshire. There's no gotcha here," Weinstein said.

The Lebanon-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is the largest health-care organization in the state. It logged 951,000 outpatient visits last year, and nearly 14,400 surgeries.

Elliot Hospital is the second-largest health care organization in the state with about 500,000 outpatient visits last year.

Weinstein did not provide an estimate for how much he expected costs would be reduced as a result of the collaboration.

Some of the work, such as mental health and endocrinology, will involve the development of better treatment models and programs to deal with psychiatric care, obesity and diabetes, Dean said.

When it comes to ambulatory surgery, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester clinic will perform ambulatory surgeries out of River's Edge starting in January. Last year, the Manchester clinic performed 4,000 ambulatory care surgeries. However, endoscopies will continue at the Manchester clinic; 4,600 took place there last year.

"If we compete with one another, the outcome for the community won't be as good if we work together," Dean said. "In medicine, volume equates to cost efficiencies and quality."Elliot performs about 4,900 ambulatory surgeries and 3,500 endoscopies a year.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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