Nine months after announcing a plan to pursue a $2.7 billion merger, New Hampshire-based health systems Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and GraniteOne Health announced Wednesday they are moving forward with the combination of the two healthcare systems.
“Our goal has been, and continues to be, to provide access to the highest-quality care for the people of New Hampshire, right here at home,” said Joanne Conroy, M.D., CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, in a statement. “Combining our systems will enable us to more effectively and efficiently use the existing capacity of our two systems, expand capacity where and when necessary, and enhance existing services across all the hospitals in our systems and in our communities, in order to meet growing patient demand, particularly in southern New Hampshire.”
The proposed merger received a nihil obstat, or declaration of no objection, from the Most Reverend Peter Libasci, Bishop of Manchester.
The proposed merger still needs to move through the regulatory process, and the healthcare systems are preparing submissions to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts Unit and Consumer Protection Bureau as well as to the Federal Trade Commission for review and approval.
It would be the latest in an ongoing trend of consolidation among health systems including deals in 2018 between Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health, forming one of the largest nonprofit systems in the country, and between Lahey Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which sought to create a system in Massachusetts to rival giant Partners HealthCare.
But regulatory approval is by no means a sure thing. Earlier this year, a potential deal for Partners HealthCare to acquire Care New England—Rhode Island's second-largest health system—was stymied following a request by Rhode Island's governor that the health system continue to explore efforts to create a "unified, local system" with state-based institutions Brown University and Lifespan.
If the New Hampshire deal is ultimately approved, the combined nonprofit healthcare system would be called Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne.