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A New Chapter in North Country Hospital's History: North Country Hospitals Affiliation

December 29, 2015

December 28, 2015 -- The New Hampshire Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Unit has provided a letter clearing the path for completion of the long-planned affiliation of the four North Country hospitals -- Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Berlin; Littleton Regional Healthcare; Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, Colebrook; and Weeks Medical Center, Lancaster.

North Country
Hospitals Affiliation

Thomas J. Donovan, Director of Charitable Trusts, stated, "The Charitable Trusts Unit has completed its review of the proposed affiliation among the four north country hospitals. We have determined that the proposal meets the requirements of the statute governing these types of transactions. Accordingly, we have issued a no action letter with respect to the proposal, subject to certain conditions."

With this clearance, the hospitals have successfully achieved a significant milestone in their efforts to join together as a new heath system serving Northern New Hampshire. The hospitals entered into an Affiliation Agreement on June 30, 2015. This Agreement required the hospitals to satisfy a number of conditions before consummating the affiliation, including most importantly the issuance of the letter from Charitable Trust.

The affiliation is expected to be finalized next month, with the new health system up and running in 2016.

The new system will be called North Country Healthcare. Its purpose will be to coordinate the activities of the four hospitals in the areas of planning, administration, purchasing, human resources, marketing, finance and contracting. Its goal will be to maintain access to high quality, affordable health care throughout the North Country.

The new arrangement maintains the four independently governed North Country hospitals as critical access hospitals providing care in their local communities. The four hospitals retain their names, their individual Boards of Trustees, and control of their assets and charitable endowments. The offices of North Country Healthcare will be in Whitefield at Weeks Medical Center's Medical Office Building, 8 Clover Lane.

An initial volunteer Board of Directors has been designated to govern North Country Healthcare. Members are: Bill Bedor, Littleton; Donald Crane, Lancaster; Edward Duffy, M.D., Glen; Donna Goodrich, Gorham; Jim Hamblin, Franconia; Pat Kelly, Groveton; Mark Kelley, Randolph, John McDowell, Randolph; Lars Nielson, M.D., Littleton; Jay Nohl, Lincoln; Greg Placy, Colebrook; David Ruble, DVM, Randolph; John Starr, Littleton; Jim Tibbetts, Columbia; Steve Trooboff, Franconia.

Mark Kelley, chair of Androscoggin Valley Hospital's board, will also chair the new board. Donald Crane, treasurer of the Weeks Medical Center board will serve as vice chair. Steve Trooboff, chair of Littleton Regional Healthcare's board, will serve as North Country Healthcare's treasurer. Greg Placy, chair of Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital's board will serve as its secretary.

"I'm proud to be part of what might be the country's first affiliation of four independent critical access hospitals. North Country Healthcare will offer the people of Northern New Hampshire more opportunity for consistent, quality health care and increased services closer to home. People who are familiar with our communities will lead this new organization for the benefit of those communities," said Kelley.

Pending ratification by the new board, Warren West and Russ Keene have been identified by the hospitals to lead the new system, West as CEO and Keene as President and CFO.

More information about the North Country Hospitals affiliation may be found at North Country Hospitals Affiliation.

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