State officials said Wednesday that New Hampshire Hospital had been short-staffed in recent months, and blamed the shortage on Dartmouth Hitchcock which provides psychiatric care at the state’s acute psychiatric hospital.
A review this week found that Dartmouth Hitchcock was two psychiatrists short of fulfilling its $36 million a year staffing contract awarded by the state last fall.
But this shortage went unnoticed due to a clerical error. Something Gov. Chris Sununu says was the fault of both Dartmouth-Hitchcock and New Hampshire Hospital.
“It’s troubling, it’s disappointing but it is something that just requires immediate action, which we’ve taken,” Sununu said Wednesday in his office.
Meanwhile, hospital CEO Bob MacLeod was asked to step down by the Governor’s Office. Donald Shumway, former CEO of the Crotched Mountain Foundation, will lead the hospital in the interim.
Sununu says he’s unsure if the staffing shortage has caused services to suffer. He says he’s looking into that, as well as having the Attorney General review the contract. Dartmouth Hitchcock has 30 days to remedy this shortage otherwise the contract could be re-bid.
Sununu is also asking to be reimbursed for the money the state has paid Dartmouth-Hitchcock for these vacant positions.
In a written statement, Dartmouth-Hitchcock said that it has fulfilled its end of the staffing contract and that "any suggestion that Dartmouth-Hitchcock has not been completely forthcoming with the State is factually incorrect and reflects a misunderstanding that requires clarification."
Officials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock plan to meet with the Governor and Commissioner of Health and Human Services to discuss this further.