LACONIA — LRGHealthcare CEO Kevin Donovan sent a memo to employees of the company – the Lakes Region’s largest employer – that it is actively seeking to partner with a “like-minded” organization as it seeks to solve financial problems.
“After several partnership announcements between New Hampshire hospitals and larger health systems recently, I’ve been asked about our plans for the future and what a partnership could look like for us,” he said in the memo. “In December, we shared that our Board of Trustees has undertaken the work of exploring strategic options to fix our long-term financial issues and secure a strong future for our health system.
“As part of that work, we are actively looking for a like-minded organization to partner with and are pleased with the progress we’ve made.”
Many community health organizations in New Hampshire have been merging in recent months.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Catholic Medical Center hospitals announced plans last month to join operations. Also last month, Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester said it planned to be acquired by HCA Healthcare, which owns Portsmouth Regional Hospital.
Such mergers can save money by eliminating duplication and taking advantage of economies of scale.
Donovan said in October that cost-cutting measures, including the controversial closure of a birthing center at Lakes Region General Hospital, have improved the company's financial picture, but that losses in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 could approach $5 million.
He said in his memo that LRGH has engaged a national firm, Kaufman Hall, to help in its search for a partner.
“We feel a strong sense of responsibility to protect healthcare in our region, and we know we can’t do that alone,” Donovan said.
“Despite our recent challenges, we have heard from many highly respected organizations interested in exploring partnership with us. We’ve also made great progress in identifying the right partner, but we still have some work to do before anything is announced.”
The nonprofit health care system has more than 1,000 employees. It runs Lakes Region General Hospital and Franklin Regional Hospital as well as a number of affiliated medical practices. Total services billed for 2017 came to more than $216 million.