MANCHESTER, N.H. — Hospitals in New Hampshire’s two largest cities are joining forces to create a new regional system that officials say will lead to better access and care for nearly a half-million people.

The boards at Elliot Health System, which includes the 296-bed Elliot Hospital in Manchester, and Southern New Hampshire Health, which includes the 188-bed Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua, signed an agreement Monday to create Solution Health. They made the announcement at the Manchester Millyard Museum, which showcases the city’s history as a 19th century textile manufacturing powerhouse.

“This museum celebrates and preserves many of the historic events of New Hampshire, and today is just one more major historic event for our city to celebrate,” said Elliot president and CEO Doug Dean, who noted that tech companies now fill the old mill buildings.

“The mills have been reborn as exciting hubs of innovation, technology and our rapidly evolving 21st century economy,” he said. “The same dynamics are affecting health care, which today is complex, enormously challenging and also in need of transformation and solutions.”

Officials said the agreement, which now goes to the attorney general’s office for a four-month review, will boost efficiency and innovation and help control costs. Mike Rose, president and CEO of Southern New Hampshire, said the agreement allows the systems to collaborate to share best practices, share state-of-the-art information technology such as medical records systems, develop and expand specialties and improve their access to financial capital.

“This, I think, is going to allow both of us, both our institutions to continue to serve our communities, to enhance the ability to satisfy our mission and our ability elevate the range and capability to provide health care to our citizens, not only in our communities but in a broader region,” said Jim Hood, chairman of Elliot’s board of directors.

The hospitals will keep their names and governance structure, with a new board appointed to oversee the regional system. During the review period, clinicians will begin coming up with a list of priorities. Officials said they expect some of the initial changes and improvements to focus on behavioral health.

Elliot Health System previously had explored an affiliation with the state’s largest health system, Dartmouth-Hitchcock. The two groups ended talks in February without reaching an agreement. In January, the state gave final approval to GraniteOne Health, a system that includes Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro and Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough.

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HOLLY RAMER
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