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Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Undergoing $130 Million Expansion

Feb 20, 2019 02:04PM ● By Kevin
Dartmouth–Hitchcock Health has anounced late last year that it is planning a $130 million expansion at its 220-acre Lebanon campus. Because services are seeing an increase in demand, the medical center in Lebanon will see a new, four-story tower on its campus, which will add 60 inpatient beds. It currently holds 396 in the existing facilities.

The expansion will likely be financed through a combination of equity, fundraising, and bonds, according to a news release. The project was approved unanimously by the health system’s board of trustees.

The proposed new building is set to have two floors of single-occupancy inpatient rooms. The rooms could contain a total of 45 medical-surgical beds and 15 step-down beds. An additional 30 beds could be added later on a separate floor, while the fourth floor would include service and mechanical space.

In addition to adding patient beds for specialty and acute-care services, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health is also planning a 400-space parking garage and 14 additional evaluation and treatment rooms for the emergency department. Once the expansion sees its completion, which is expected to be in 2023, Dartmouth-Hitchcock expects 3,000 additional inpatient admissions per year.

The organization cites the aging population, the hospital’s role as a safety net provider, and the health system’s growth, as reasons for the expansion. It’s not unordinary for occupancy rates to run at 90 percent, which requires the medical center to divert high-acuity patients to facilities elsewhere in New England.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock has been in the news rather frequently of late, also announcing a merger and another campus expansion, both in January.

The merger, or “combination,” as the two organizations like to put it, would be between Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and GraniteOne Health, the health care system that includes the Manchester-based Catholic Medical Center. The two organizations signed a letter of intent in January, donning the new era of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health GraniteOne. The combination would create a network of eight hospitals/medical centers.

These facilities would continue to operate under their own board of trustees, and would be managed operationally by a CEO and two regional presidents, the letter of intent stated, and staffing is likely to increase, rather than see job cuts.

The proposal is pending approval by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, federal regulators, and the organizations’ boards, as well as the bishop of Manchester, due to Catholic Medical Center’s religious affiliation.

The two organizations anticipate the new health system will be able to access capital at a lower cost, paving the way for new infrastructure investments, according to a story in the Valley News.

The Manchester clinic’s expansion, while not as robust as the medical center’s, will cost roughly $59 million, with hopes of extending reach into southern New Hampshire.

The expansion will add a six-room ambulatory surgery center and medical infusion space at its Wellington Road facility, according to a news release. The new space will also add a pharmacy, MRI unit, and new offices, the release stated. The expansion was approved by trustees at the most recent quarterly meeting.

The building's endoscopy suite will see a makeover after construction concludes. Office space will also be added on campus at that time. Ground is expected to be broken next spring.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is New Hampshire’s only academic health system, serving a population of 1.9 million across New England. The organization, according to its website, provides access to more than 1,500 primary care doctors and specialists in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

The medical center was named in 2018 as the No. 1 hospital in New Hampshire by US News & World Report, nationally ranked in gynecology, and recognized for high performance in 14 clinical specialties. The organization’s system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction. For more information about Dartmouth-Hitchcock, visit dartmouth-hitchcock.org.

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