Springfield Hospital likely to break ties with nine clinics

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Hospital, which last year filed for bankruptcy, will likely sever ties with nine medical and dental clinics that serve parts of southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

The move would be part of its bankruptcy plan.

The Springfield Medical Care Systems is currently made up of clinics in Springfield, Londonderry, Ludlow, Chester, Rockingham and in Charlestown, New Hampshire, that are linked to Springfield Hospital.

Springfield Hospital is taking steps to join a three-hospital system with Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Windsor and Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, New Hampshire.

The clinics cannot be linked to Springfield Hospital under the proposed partnership, said Springfield Medical Care Systems CEO Josh Dufresne.

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"As we're looking to split these two companies apart and be completely independent, we have to make sure that the right services stay within the right company," he said.

Hospitals coordinating healthcare services in rural communities is becoming more common as primary doctors struggle to keep practices open. The clinics lost $2.5 million in 2018 and will have to submit their own plan to the bankruptcy court, said Dufresne.

The clinics offer general medicine, dental, eye care and mental health support. In sparsely populated southern Vermont, the model has not worked, he said.

"Where we went astray a bit is we started to become everything to everyone," Dufresne said. "And we started to do services, maybe broader services, than what we probably should have focused on. And do we continue that? It's uncertain right now."

The hospital plans to submit its bankruptcy plan to the court this spring.

In a letter sent to media outlets Tuesday, the hospital stated that its "goal is to ensure a strong primary care system that continues to operate health centers in the same towns where they are currently located. Specific services offered may change (as with any business) depending on community demand and reimbursement for services."


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