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Crotched Mountain Specialty Hospital to Close Later This Year

Crotched Mountain Foundation

Crotched Mountain Foundation's board voted Monday to close its longtime specialty hospital in Greenfield, likely by the end of August.

On a call with reporters Monday evening, Crotched Mountain officials cited a storm of factors — declining patient admissions, difficulty attracting qualified staff, state funding issues — as reasons for the closure, but said stagnant reimbursement rates were a significant factor.

"We lose money on every patient — so even if we filled the hospital, we'd be filling the hospital with patients where we lose money," Crotched Mountain Foundation President Michael Coughlin said. 

Most of the hospital’s patients are on Medicaid, and Coughlin said he hospital hasn’t seen an increase in reimbursement rates for such coverage since 2010. The hospital has been treading water financially for the last several years, he said, operating with losses of $4 million to $5 million per year.

"The services that we provide are very intensive, labor intensive services, and there just never was an ability to capture what it truly costs," Coughlin said. "So, yeah, budget cycles have something to do with it, but even if we got a little bit of an increase, it wouldn't amount to $5 million a year."

Hospital officials said the facility has 62 beds, and until several years ago maintained an average occupancy in the low 50s, before dropping into the 40-patient range more recently. The hospital says it allowed the occupancy rate to fall lower in recent months, knowing that closure might be possible.

The 30 patients currently receiving care for brain injuries or other acute needs will be moved home or to other facilities, hospital officials said Monday.

Casey McDermott is an editor and reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, where she works with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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