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Staffing Dispute Deepens as Dartmouth-Hitchcock to Take Helm at State Hospital

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THOMAS FEARON
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The Executive Council has voted 5-0 to allow Dartmouth-Hitchcock to take over managing the state psychiatric hospital in Concord, June 30. But a core group of psychiatrist staff refuse to work with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. 

The psychiatric team says Dartmouth-Hitchcock reneged on earlier promises over pay and benefits. Dartmouth disputes that. Both sides say they won't work together, and that means it is unclear who will staff the state hospital starting next month.

New Hampshire Hospital is the emergency backstop to the entire state's mental health system. Dartmouth-Hitchcock says it will fill the vacant positions with qualified staff on time, but there is currently a nationwide shortage of psychiatrists. This hospital already suffers from a nursing shortage and a one-year delay in opening a 10-bed crisis unit.

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.

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