My Friend’s Point of View on our Hospital

To the Editor:

I think North Country Healthcare (NCH), the affiliation of our four North Country hospitals and a Home Health Agency, is a success. Milt Bratz, my long-time friend, expressed his opposing view in an editorial.

So, I called Milt to understand better his point of view on Littleton Regional Healthcare (LRH)’s reasons to withdraw. I listened closely because my conversations with Milt are interesting, informative, entertaining - and fun, regardless of the subject - serious or mundane.

After bidding each other good-bye with smiles you can “see” over the telephone, I again read the two articles Milt cited to support LRH’s withdrawal – both in the New York Times regarding mergers: one on Nov. 14, 2018, “…Patients Often Pay More…”, and one on Feb. 11, 2019, “Hospital Mergers Improve Health?…”

Both articles do not apply to the North Country. Why? The Nov. 14th article deals with costs in 19 metropolitan areas, e.g. hospitals in Chattanooga, TN, Portland, ME, Medford, OR, Albany, NY, etc. The North Country is not a metropolitan area. Secondly, the study was from 2010 to 2013 - going back almost a decade.

The Feb. 11th article speaks about quality of care suffering because of, from my reading, large hospital mergers. One example was two hospital systems in Texas possibly merging into one 68-hospital system - 68 hospitals! Not our four rural hospitals. Another example in the article noted a 2012 merger in New Haven, CT. Both examples do not reflect the North Country.

Milt, I, and most all trustees and members of boards usually make decisions based upon information presented by management – why not? I am not a member of LRH hospital board. I gather my own information.

Sincerely,

Mell Brooks

Littleton, N.H.

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