By Associated Press - Thursday, January 14, 2021

EXETER, N.H. (AP) - Massachusetts General Hospital says it has discontinued its plan to acquire Exeter Hospital after the New Hampshire attorney general’s office opposed the merger because of antitrust concerns.

The merger that would have brought Exeter Hospital under the same leadership as Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, which was acquired by Mass General in 2017. reports Mass General “did not feel there was a way forward after the investment of resources, time and energy spent in a regulatory process that has taken two years,” said Mark Whitney, Exeter Hospital’s vice president of strategic planning. Whitney said the merger would’ve improved health care on the Seacoast and “improved the sustainability of our organization.”

In 2019, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said Exeter Hospital and Wentworth-Douglass offered many of the same services and there are a limited number of other healthcare systems of the “size and breadth” of the two hospitals in the Seacoast region.

“New Hampshire patients already pay some of the highest prices for health care in the country,” he had said. “This transaction implicates our laws protecting free and fair competition and therefore threatens even higher health care costs to be borne by New Hampshire consumers.”

Exeter Hospital’s contracts with Mass General’s Center for Cancer Care, pediatric care and telestroke care will continue.

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