Seacoast Hospitals Look To Overcome N.H. Regulatory Setback in Proposed Merger

Nov 14, 2019

Exeter Hospital and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital have been working on the proposed merger for more than a year.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Exeter Hospital and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital are launching a public-relations campaign aimed at overcoming the objections of state regulators to a proposed merger.

Exeter Hospital and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital are hoping to join forces under a new non-profit that would be a subsidiary of Massachusetts General Hospital. Wentworth-Douglass was acquired by Mass General in 2017.

In September, the Attorney General's filed a formal objection to the merger citing anti-trust concerns.

In the face of that regulatory setback, the hospitals are now looking to lobby state lawmakers to help their case.

The group says they will promote the benefits of the merger through print, radio, and digital channels. They've also set up a website with pre-written emails of support that residents can then send to their local lawmakers or the governor.

Credit Courtesy, WDH

The state’s Charitable Trust Unit concluded the planned merger would reduce competition and potentially lead to an increase in costs to customers. The hospitals called the findings unfounded.

A review by federal regulators at the Federal Trade Commission remains ongoing.