North Country Healthcare signs agreement with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

North Country hospitals will be designated as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care low-cost providers

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and North Country Healthcare have signed an exclusive agreement to provide 1,400 employees with health insurance coverage effective Jan. 1, 2018.

As part of the agreement, both not-for-profit organizations will each provide a $30,000 grant to help support population health in the North Country, ensuring improved access to fresh, healthy food for residents.

North Country Healthcare is the parent company of affiliated hospitals in northern New Hampshire including Littleton Regional Healthcare, Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, and Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook.

This partnership will designate the four hospitals as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care low-cost providers, which reduces patient costs for certain services.

“We are proud to partner with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in ensuring affordable access to first-class health care and coverage for our employees,” said Warren West, CEO of North Country Healthcare. “All four NCH hospitals will be designated as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Low Cost Providers beginning in 2018. This will dramatically increase the service coverage area for North Country residents covered by Harvard Pilgrim. Members will now be able to access low-cost medical services more conveniently, and closer to home.”

West said the partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will also help North Country Healthcare continue to build a clinically integrated network with three community health centers in the North Country: Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, Indian Stream Health Center, and Coos County Family Health Services. This will enable North Country Healthcare to improve care, provide coordination of care among the region’s health centers and hospitals and better serve the health and wellness needs of North Country residents.

“As non-profits, we share a mission to support our communities,” added West. “To kick off this partnership, we are jointly committing a total of $60,000 to help improve the health of our communities and ensure that all North Country residents have access to fresh, affordable food.”

Harvard Pilgrim will use its population health company, Benevera Health, to work closely with North Country Healthcare on local health initiatives and improve care coordination in the North Country. Benevera Health will deploy sophisticated analytics and a team of nurses, social workers, pharmacists, community health workers, and physicians in the region and on site at North Country Healthcare hospitals to help patients stay healthy and recognize potential health concerns early, before they are an issue.

“Helping North Country Healthcare reduce costs and provide access to affordable and quality health care for North Country residents is central to this partnership,” said William Brewster, Vice President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care New Hampshire. “We are very proud to join forces with NCH to provide funding support of area programs that will help North Country families improve their health and get fresh, affordable food.”

North Country Healthcare is the parent organization of four Critical Access Hospitals and one home health agency in Northern New Hampshire. The member organizations include Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, Littleton Regional Healthcare in Littleton, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook, Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, and North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency in Littleton.

North Country Healthcare employs 1,400 staff and is the largest employer in the North Country. This newly formed health-care system serves northern Grafton County and all of Coos County. North Country Healthcare also collaborates with three Federally Qualified Health Clinics: Ammonoosuc Community Health Services in Littleton, Coos County Family Health Services in Berlin and Indian Stream Health Center in Colebrook.

Harvard Pilgrim is a not-for-profit health services company. Harvard Pilgrim’s flagship health plans in New England provide health coverage to 1.3 million members, while another 1.4 million individuals are served through Health Plans, Inc., a subsidiary that provides integrated care management, health coaching and plan administration solutions to self-funded employers nationwide.


Senators announce $2 million federal funds to fight opioid crisis in NH

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) recently announced more than $2 million dollars in federal funds to help combat New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic. The funds will be allocated through different awards from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, of which both senators offered letters of support, and from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

New Hampshire has been overwhelmed by the opioid epidemic, which killed more than 400 Granite Staters last year.

Nearly $800,000 will go to the state State Department of Safety from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to invest in training for first responders, provide essential information on treatment and recovery options, and to support the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services’ efforts on the ground.

The Drug-Free Communities Program, which is operated by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, will award New Hampshire $1.5 million to help local community partners to prevent youth substance abuse. The DCF funding will be spread across 12 different New Hampshire regional centers.

“This funding is crucial to our communities and treatment centers that are at the forefront of this epidemic,” said Shaheen. “New Hampshire has been one of the most hard-hit states in the nation, so these federal funds could not come at a more critical time to help Granite State first responders and medical personnel, who are on the front lines and managing the effects of this crisis every day. While I’m glad to see these necessary federal dollars come back to New Hampshire, more work lies ahead to ensure we have the requisite federal support to address the full scope of this epidemic.”

“Getting more resources to those on the front lines of the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid epidemic is critical to stemming — and ultimately — reversing this horrific epidemic that is devastating our communities and taking a massive toll on our economy in New Hampshire,” Hassan said. “This funding is important to strengthening prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement efforts, but there is much more work ahead to combat this crisis, including fighting as hard we can to stop the Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare bill that would be devastating to New Hampshire's efforts to support Granite Staters struggling with addiction."

Shaheen has been a leading figure on combating the opioid epidemic, and has relentlessly called on the Trump administration to take action on the crisis that has taken root in New Hampshire communities.

Last week, Shaheen and Hassan joined eight of their colleagues to call on President Donald Trump to take immediate action on the opioid crisis and answer specific questions about the president’s announcement that he would declare the epidemic a national emergency. Both senators have consistently fought for additional federal funding that matches the growing crisis facing Granite State communities.


North Country Health Consortium receives grant to boost health care delivery system

The North Country Health Consortium announced that it has received a Rural Health Network Development grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Rural Health Policy totaling $900,000 to support expansion of existing programming to strengthen the health-care delivery system in Northern New Hampshire.
The three-year grant will support the development of the Ways2Wellness Connect program, emphasizing the integration of community health workers with care coordination teams in the area. Further, North Country Health Consortium will hire and train community health workers to partner with area health care teams to assist older adult patients in accessing care and services in the community.
“The North Country has a proportionately larger aging population than the rest of the state and country as well as higher rates of chronic conditions— such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” said Nancy Frank, chief executive officer at NCHC.” Although relatively new to the state, community health workers have been an indispensable part of health care teams throughout the country for decades, and will allow North Country Health Consortium to address factors that affect health, disease progression, and care, including isolation, access to transportation, and healthy food.”
The Ways2Wellness Connect model was designed to keep patients with chronic diseases from “falling through the cracks,” with community health workers functioning as both care coordinators and health educators to bridge connections between providers, patients, family members, communities, and resources. In conjunction with the Ways2Wellness Connect program, health professions students completing rural community rotations through North Country Health Consortium's Live, Learn, Play in Northern New Hampshire program will participate in care coordination activities with community health workers.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to grow the community health workers workforce in the region, and we continue to share their value with providers and community residents to sustainability integrate community health workers into the greater infrastructure,” said Frank.
The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about North Country Health Consortium and Community Health Workers, go to or call (603) 259-3700.

Bereavement support group starts Tuesday, Sept. 26

BERLIN — Do you know someone who is struggling with grief due to the death of a spouse, child, parent, relative or friend? Sponsored by Catholic Charities N.H., there will be a Bereavement Support Group starting on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
According to organizers of the event, after the death of a loved one, survivors need understanding, hope and comfort. They need to be able to talk with others who have been through similar experiences and can listen and understand in a special way.
A support group offers such an opportunity. Event coordinators invite anyone who has lost a loved one through death to come and share in this experience.
The sessions are informal and topics will include:
• Understanding grief.
• Emotions: loneliness and anger.
• Remembering.
• Faith/holidays.
• Coping strategies.
• Hope and new beginnings.
This group is free, but pre-registration is requested. This six-week series will begin Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Nicole Plourde (603) 752-1325.
The group is sponsored by Catholic Charities N.H. and will be held at its office on 151 Emery St. in Berlin.
“In a society which is more inclined to help you hide your pain than to grow through it, it is necessary to make a conscious effort to mourn,” — Henry Nouwen

Cutline: Promoting literacy in Coos County

Reach out and Read PictureThe Community Impact Committee of Granite United Way — Northern Region is partnering with the Coos Coalition to promote literacy in Coos County. The Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families recently received $4,125 from Granite United Way — Northern Region to support the Coos County Reach out and Read Program. This money will be used to provide free books for children aged 1-5 at their well child visits at Coos County Family Health Services, Weeks Medical Center and Indian Stream Health Center. Pictured from Coos County Family Health Services are Brian Beals, MD; Andrea Alger, RN; Beth Host; Jen O’Neil, MA; Laura Boucher of Granite United Way and Coen Rano. (COURTESY PHOTO)