Exeter Health Resources, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital have signed a letter of intent to explore opportunities to develop a new regional network to collaboratively deliver health care within the Seacoast Region. A new regional non-profit corporation will be developed that serves as the parent to Exeter Health Resources and Wentworth-Douglass, and the new corporation will be a subsidiary of Mass General.

As part of the process, the organizations will look at ways to support a shared vision of strengthening, enhancing, and growing clinical programs and services to best meet the health care needs of the Seacoast community, while providing care in a cost-effective, coordinated and sustainable manner.

The boards of each of the organizations, in separate meetings, authorized the letter of intent and the three health systems will now focus on a robust due diligence phase. Assuming successful results of due diligence, the parties will work together to negotiate and develop a definitive agreement which will be subject to review by state and federal regulatory agencies. The diligence and regulatory review process is expected to take 15 – 18 months.

During this time, community forums will be hosted in the Seacoast Region, and the three health systems will invite residents to ask questions and learn more about the proposed network.

Since joining Mass General, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has begun implementation of a new, system-wide electronic medical record system and business support applications to create a more seamless experience for patients. In addition, the two organizations have collaborated on clinical program development, adding new specialized programs in epilepsy treatment, congestive heart failure, and electrophysiology. “When we joined Mass General, our vision was to bring greater access to the highest-quality clinical care in the region; to develop the most qualified and capable physician network supported by the most sophisticated technology and advanced health records systems – and to continue to deliver care locally,” says Greg Walker, President and CEO of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

That vision is shared by Kevin Callahan, President and CEO of Exeter Health Resources. “We believe that through the creation of a new integrated regional health care network, Exeter Health Resources, Inc. and its affiliates, Exeter Hospital, Inc., Core Physicians, LLC and Rockingham VNA & Hospice can not only advance their collective mission of improving the health of the community through the provision of high quality health care services, but also position our organization to thrive in the future. Importantly, developing this regional health care delivery network in collaboration with Wentworth-Douglass and Mass General combines the outstanding qualities of those institutions with those of Exeter Health Resources and creates a new pathway for Seacoast communities to access high value health care – from primary care to the most advanced care available.”

Commitment to improving the health and well-being of residents in their local communities is a goal shared by all three institutions, says Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH President. “For more than a decade, we have enjoyed a successful clinical affiliation with Exeter Health Resources and last year we were honored to expand our relationship with Wentworth-Douglass. We look forward to future discussions to explore how – together – we can focus on enhancing care and extending access, availability of services, and slowing the rate of rising health care costs.”