2012 Huggins and Wentworth-Douglass Hospitals embark on Collaboration Plan
The Board of Directors of Huggins Hospital (HH) and the Board of Trustees of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (WDH) recently approved a Collaboration Proposal aimed at improving the quality, coordination and efficiency of care for the residents of southeastern New Hampshire. Similar in several respects to initial agreements between Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the collaboration will include a series of separate agreements in selected clinical disciplines.
Both organizations are in the process of exploring potential alliances and relationships that will position them for the impact of a broad spectrum of healthcare reforms focused on value and cost-effective patient care services.
“It’s very likely,” commented Huggins Board Chairman, Steve Wainwright, “the future delivery of healthcare will require a better integration of services at all levels. We’re very proud of the exceptional care we provide and understand this type of targeted collaboration allows a small, rural hospital such as Huggins Hospital, to continue our local control while offering a wider range of services for our community.”
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Board Chairman, Neil Garvey, echoes Wainwright’s comment. “Our Board has been very impressed with the patient and community focus at Huggins Hospital. Through our own affiliation with MGH, we understand the value of learning from each other and improving patient care.”
Michael Connelly, newly appointed president and CEO of Huggins, expressed optimism about the potential areas for future collaboration. “Value has become the new hallmark in healthcare,” remarked Connelly. “Both organizations are known for their quality of clinical services, now we’ll have the opportunity to look at developing sufficient economies of scale to help with the affordability side of healthcare. Our entire staff is excited about developing future arrangements that can better serve our communities in the Eastern lakes region.”
WDH President & CEO Gregory Walker agreed with the emphasis on value in healthcare. “Our patients want the best quality at the lowest possible cost – the same emphasis we see throughout health care reform legislation both at the state and national level. To thrive in this environment we need to build relationships with strong partners, open doors to new possibilities and explore opportunities to continually improve patient care. We are committed to making this collaboration with Huggins a success for both our hospitals, medical staffs and communities.”
Dr. Tim Pinard, president of the Huggins medical staff stressed the importance of maintaining a system of close clinical ties in caring for local residents and said the medical staff welcomes the opportunity to share their expertise, extend their collegial relationships and expand the scope of services for their community. “Having a broad array of specialty expertise readily available to our practicing clinicians is a major asset not commonly found in smaller community hospitals,” said Dr. Pinard.
Four clinical disciplines are targeted in the Collaboration Proposal between WDH and HH. The first will be to expand the hospitalist program at Huggins with administrative and clinical support from WDH’s hospitalist practice. The second will develop a consultation program to ensure efficient and easy access for HH clinical staff to WDH’s specialists for consultation and a patient transfer protocol for complex medical patients. The third will focus on developing specialty clinics for services currently not available at HH, such as pulmonology. The fourth will focus on improvements in Stroke Care using criteria developed by WDH that led to their certification by The Joint Commission in Advanced Primary Stroke Care.
Noreen Biehl, VP of Community Relations