The Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) health system have announced plans to explore a formal affiliation to provide local residents with enhanced access to home health and hospice care.
As ongoing transformations in health care encourage increased collaboration, innovation and communication among healthcare organizations to improve care and create cost efficiencies, the proposed VNH affiliation with D-H is envisioned to strengthen both organizations’ ability to reach patients.
The announcement follows a series of discussions between the Boards of both organizations that began in February 2014. After reaching agreement on shared goal and principles, the VNH and D-H Boards approved the decision to pursue a formal affiliate relationship.
The proposed affiliation would benefit patients who receive home health services in numerous ways, according to VNH President and CEO Jeanne McLaughlin. “As people age or recover from illness or injury, home is where they want to be. We all want to help people avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, and this affiliation would help us do that,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said that working together, VNH and Dartmouth-Hitchcock could strengthen the care offered by both organizations by helping people avoid unnecessary hospitalizations when possible and prudent; by streamlining the transition from hospital to home; providing patients with access to state of the art symptom management in an inpatient care environment designed and built to celebrate the personal rather than the medical, and optimally support mind, body, and spirit, through joint development of the new Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Hospice and Palliative Care; and by helping ensure a world-class continuum of care for people who are chronically ill and/or have limited access to hospital care because of their rural location.
The proposed affiliation would not affect any of VNH’s existing relationships with municipalities, other hospitals or health care providers.
“Under this affiliation, VNH would remain the same vibrant, not-for-profit organization we’ve always been, responsible for our own operating performance. We’ve always relied on the generous support of the town we serve and donors who believe in the importance of our work, and that will not change,” said McLaughlin.
“The care provided by VNH is a critical component of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s culture of caring and helps fulfill our mission of truly integrated population health management, providing the right care to well-informed patients when and where they need it,” said Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and President Dr. James N. Weinstein. “We have agreed to pursue a closer collaboration with the goal of finding the common ground on which we can deepen our relationship on the way to a sustainable health system that improves the lives of the patients and communities we serve, for generations to come.”
According to McLaughlin, the due diligence process for the proposed affiliation will take place over the next several months. If all goes according to plan, McLaughlin said a formal agreement making VNH a Dartmouth-Hitchcock affiliate could be finalized by the fall of 2015.
“Since our origins in 1907,” McLaughlin said, “VNH nurses and therapists have wanted only to ensure that those who need us are able to ‘Come home to excellent care.’ I’m proud of our staff for fulfilling that promise every day, and I believe this affiliation is an important next step in fulfilling our mission.”
Press Coverage of Affiliation
ABOUT VNH – Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) is a non-profit organization that has provided home health and hospice care services in Vermont and New Hampshire since 1907. The agency is dedicated to delivering outstanding home-and community-based health and hospice services that enrich the lives of the people they serve. VNH makes home visits to people of all ages and all stages of life-regardless of ability to pay-and also provides communities with education and wellness programs.
ABOUT DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK – Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) is a nonprofit academic health system that serves a patient population of 1.2 million in New England. Anchored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, the system includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Center in the nation; the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock; affiliate hospitals in Keene and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. D-H provides access to more than 1,000 primary care doctors and specialists in almost every area of medicine. In Partnership with the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT, it trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research.