APD Making Its Pitch

APD Making Its Pitch

Lebanon — About 20 people showed up for a discussion of the proposed affiliation that would bring Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital into a growing health care system directed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Using an abbreviated version of a slide show that had been presented to Alice Peck Day’s employees, described how the hospital would “fit into the network that Dartmouth-Hitchcock is building.”

“You have networks and partnerships and collaborative relationships, and you have to be good at coordinating the care,” she said.

Then Mooney and officials from D-H fielded a handful of polite questions.

Joanne Scobie, of Hanover, asked about the financial challenges facing APD’s two senior living facilities, which will not follow APD’s hospital into the D-H system.

“We have a very, very solid plan to turn around the finances of (APD) Lifecare that is already being implemented,” Mooney said. She noted that she would remain as CEO of the housing nonprofit, and added, “It’s my job to ensure that Lifecare is on a sustainable path into the future.”

Charlotte Rutz, of Bridgewater, observed that D-H “felt a little factory-like to me” and asked how APD would sustain its commitment to delivering person-to-person, individualized care.

“At our core we are invested, and will continue to be invested, in long-term relationships with patients,” Mooney said.

“I don’t want to see Alice Peck Day lose that personal connection,” said Lynn Anderson, of Lebanon, who stressed that she had benefited from close coordination in May when her doctor at APD sent her to D-H for successful open heart surgery.

If the deal goes through, cooperation will increase. APD, a 25-bed hospital, will integrate its hospital care, emergency and obstetrics departments with those of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, D-H’s 396-bed flagship facility five miles away. Details of the integration process are still being worked out, Mooney said.

But some birthing services would still be available in the facility along Mascoma Street, she promised.

“We do not want to see obstetrics go away from our campus,” Mooney said. “We need to evolve it in a way that’s responsible.”

Mooney said that the affiliation deal, which has been submitted for review by antitrust and nonprofit regulators in the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, was partly a response to challenges facing the nation’s health care system, including high costs, quality problems and access issues. In that context, she said, APD’s “interests and (D-H’s) interests essentially are one and the same.”

APD and D-H and other hospitals in the D-H network also would explore ways to work together in delivering administrative services, Mooney said. Recently, D-H has outsourced hundreds of back-office administrative jobs. In a brief interview after the meeting, Mooney said that it was “premature” to talk about whether outsourcing might affect workers APD.

Technology integration will present special challenges, Mooney said. D-H, APD and D-H’s affiliated New London and Mt. Ascutney hospitals all have electronic health records systems, but they are different, she said.

During her presentation, Mooney, who took the top job at APD in 2013, said, “As far as I know, I am not losing my job in the course of this.”

Another community meeting to discuss the affiliation proposal is scheduled for Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at Kilton Library in West Lebanon.

Rick Jurgens can be reached at rjurgens@vnews.com or 603-727-3229.

Author: Rick Jurgens Valley News Staff Writer

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