For now, the vote on the controversial contract between Dartmouth-Hitchcock and New Hampshire Hospital in Concord is being postponed, pending further discussion by officials of both hospitals, the Executive Council, and other state officials. The Valley News reports that the Executive Council, while meeting with hospital officials at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, voted to delay the 32-month contract while they discuss staffing at New Hampshire Hospital and a recent suicide of a released patient.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers was against postponement, arguing that the longer it takes to enact the contract, the harder it will be to recruit new psychiatric staff at the hospital. Two of the five members of the Executive Council are running for governor, which influences their decision making in the months leading up to the election.
The contract would provide NHH with professional staff from DHMC to assist with mental health treatment, which was emphasized when a 63-year old woman jumped to her death from a building mere hours after being released from NHH.
The Council will discuss the contract again on September 7th, following a motion to table the discussion.