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Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO Addresses Expansion Plans, Workforce Challenges

Courtesy of Dartmouth-Hitchcock

New Hampshire's largest hospital is struggling to fill open positions, said Joanne Conroy, CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Conroy spoke to local government and health leaders in Lebanon Friday morning at the annual meeting of the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is currently working with a staffing agency to temporarily fill more than 100 open nursing positions, she said. The hospital is looking at incentives like travel stipends to try to sweeten the deal for prospective employees.

Workforce challenges – common across many industries in the Upper Valley – were just one topic she addressed in remarks that focused on Dartmouth-Hitchcock's role in the local community. 

She also spoke to expansion goals. Dartmouth-Hitchcock is looking to significantly grow its geographic footprint, she said, and is in talks with several facilities in southern New Hampshire and Vermont.

Expansion will improve financial stability, but also comes with concerns as to how changes will affect patient care. Conroy said she’s watched the recent flurry of recent mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare space with some skepticism. She said she's prioritizing improvements in healthcare affordability and quality, and hopes to have measurable progress against these goals as the system grows.

“I think the challenge to us at Dartmouth-Hitchcock health is don't just get bigger, get better,” she said. 

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