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Executive Council To Vote on Staffing Contract for Psychiatric Care in N.H.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
The New Hampshire Hospital in Concord.

The Executive Council Wednesday is scheduled to vote on a more than $36 million contract with Dartmouth-Hitchcock to provide psychiatric services at New Hampshire Hospital. The decision of whether to extend this contract has been delayed for months due to ongoing labor disputes. 

The Executive Council pushed back final approval of the contract earlier this summer and instead opted for a contract extension through October. Now the council will decide whether to continue the contract through 2019.  

For years Dartmouth College oversaw the team of psychiatrists on staff at the state hospital.  When that contract ended, Dartmouth-Hitchcock became the state's sole bidder. But many psychiatric staff members were unhappy with Dartmouth-Hitchcock's terms of employment.

So much so that nearly half of the hospital’s 21 employees walked off the job in June.

But according to the Department of Health and Human Services, Dartmouth-Hitchcock has filled these positions.

It's unclear how the Republican-majority council will vote.

Another item on the agenda will be the state’s updated plans to address the opioid crisis. New Hampshire’s newly appointed drug czar James Vara is expected to outline those details during Wednesday’s meeting in New London.

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