Exeter Hospital has agreed to become part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, becoming its first New Hampshire property.

The agreement follows unanimous approval by the boards of both organizations following the signing of a letter of intent earlier this year The agreement includes other Beth Israel Lahey Health agencies including Core Physicians and Rockingham Visiting Nurse Association. Beth Israel Lahey Health already own Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport.

The next step in the process is state and federal regulatory review, which is expected to take a number of months.

“I am confident that our proposed relationship would result in greater access to healthcare services, more patient choice, and a significant advancement in affordable and sustainable healthcare for all of New Hampshire. We are excited about what this relationship can bring to our communities, and we look forward to sharing additional information as our journey towards a stronger future continues," Kevin Callahan, president and CEO of Exeter Health Resources, Inc, said in a statement.

The agreement would maintain Exeter's existing structure and its not-for-profit status. A local governing board will remain, which would include representative of BILH. In turn, BILH would also include an Exeter member for six years.

Upon approval of the agreement, BILH would make a $375 million capital investment in Exeter over ten years.

A release about the agreement does not mention how the staffing at Exeter Hospital would be affected. Exeter's employees would be "supported," according to a summary.

Exeter Hospital currently has a partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital after merger talks between the two ended in 2021. Then-New Hampshire Attorney Gordon MacDonald opposed the deal based on antitrust concerns found during his office's initial review of the transaction. Mass General also owns Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover.

Frisbie Memorial Hospital and Portsmouth Regional Hospital are both owned by HCA Healthcare. York Hospital is privately owned and has an affiliation wit Massachusetts General Hospital.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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