- Partners HealthCare is looking to strengthen its New England presence, this time via an acquisition of New Hampshire-based Exeter Health Resources.
- The addition of Exeter — still in the early stages of discussion — would be part of a new nonprofit regional health system that includes Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire, which Partners acquired last year.
- The system is currently in talks to acquire Rhode Island health system Care New England but has yet to sign a definitive agreement. “We’re looking at other places in New England where we think we can find people who want to work with us, [where] we think we’re aligned in terms of the model in terms of delivery of care, population health,” Partners CFO Peter Markell told the Boston Business Journal.
Under the proposed plan, Exeter and Wentworth-Douglass would form a nonprofit corporation that would operate as a subsidiary of Massachusetts General Hospital and be part of the larger Partners family of services. The boards of the three organizations have signed letters of intent to explore the deal.
The parties must now negotiate a definitive agreement. That process and the required regulatory reviews are expected to take 15 to 18 months.
Both Wentworth-Douglass and Exeter have long-standing clinical relationships with Mass General. Since joining Mass General, Wentworth-Douglass has deployed a new, enterprise-wide EHR and collaborated on new epilepsy, congestive heart failure and electrophysiology programs.
With the addition of Exeter, Partners would gain 2,300 employees, a 100-bed hospital, a 140-physician practice and a visiting nurse association.
Regional presence is important as health systems search for a good fit in size and location. Earlier this year, Partners announced it would form a definitive agreement to merge with Care New England, a deal the companies have yet to sign. The two systems subsequently invited Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest health system, to join the discussion in February.
Partners, which is the largest hospital chain in Massachusetts, is also looking to expand its footprint in the payer market. The company is currently in merger talks with Harvard Pilgrim Health, one of the Bay State’s largest health insurers.