Closure of the Gilford Orthopedic Clinic; Concord Hospital says contract was ‘not viable’

An orthopedic clinic in Gilford announces it will close after 50 years because its contract with Lakes Region General Hospital is not renewed as part of the likely takeover by Concord Hospital, one of first visible changes caused by the financial collapse of LRGHealthcare.

Advanced Orthopedic Specialists said last week it would close by March 31 because Concord Hospital “chose not to renew the provider’s service agreement which has been in place since 2004.”

Such agreements are common between hospitals and private group medical practices and can take many forms. They usually involve shared administrative costs and agreed remuneration for physicians.

Robert Steigmeyer, CEO of Concord Hospital, declined to discuss details of the contract except to say it was deemed “economically unsustainable”.

“Given everything we’ve been up against,” Steigmeyer said, referring to the financial repercussions hospitals have suffered as a result of the pandemic, “where things are today, we can’t take on contracts or commitments that are not viable”.

“We are not going to duplicate or reproduce things that contributed to the problem. We don’t want to repeat a bankruptcy,” he said.

If Concord Hospital’s takeover of LRGHealthcare is approved, which seems likely, Steigmeyer said it would operate on an “open staff mode” where “any provider qualified to be medical staff can continue to supply and dispense care”.

“We are committed to ensuring that orthopedic care is provided in the Lake District,” he said.

LRGHealthcare, which also owns Franklin Hospital and some health care agencies, filed for Chapter 11 Louisiana bankruptcy attorney last year largely due to costs associated with some $128 million in debt fueled by the expansion of the Laconia hospital and the creation of a computerized system to process electronic medical records. .

Concord Hospital offered to buy LRGH for $30 million and ended up the sole bidder. The relationship between the two entities is close; Concord Hospital had talked about merging or buying LRGH in the past and in recent years has resumed maternity services.

While some complications remain in the deal, particularly several million dollars the state says LRGH owes due to the “Medicaid loophole” of the past few years, it seems likely that the change in ownership will be approved by regulators. the state to keep hospitals open. .

The purchase will be subject to an online public hearing by the Director of Charitable Trusts, which oversees charitable healthcare trusts. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, February 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The public can register for the hearing and submit questions or comments in advance or during the online audience. Supporting documents can be found on the state website Charitable Trusts Unit.

Advanced Orthpaedics claims it was “New Hampshire’s first professional medical society in the state” when it opened in 1970 under a different name. It has 10 practitioners, including the four owners.

In a statement, the group said that “the practice has been working on creating a way forward to continue providing orthopedic care in the region” but that “Concord Hospital has not provided a viable solution for allow OSA to continue”.

“Rumors that OSA surgeons ‘want to leave’ couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Dr. Jeremy Hogan, an orthopedic surgeon who has worked with OSA for 19 years, in the statement. “Our practice has amassed thousands of loyal patients in the Lake District. … We are deeply saddened to be closing AOS and saying goodbye to our dedicated staff. We will all find a way forward with new organizations.

Steigmyer said on Tuesday that the three components of LRGH’s financial problems were debt, IT costs and “unsustainable” contracts.

“It’s not my impression.. that they’ve been overstaffed,” he said when asked about the possibility of layoffs to cut costs.

Like all hospitals, Laconia and Franklin have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced inpatient revenues and made emergency departments less profitable.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or [email protected] or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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