Hassan Names Ex-DHMC Official to Medicaid Commission

Lebanon — Jim Varnum, the former president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, has joined a new commission that will study the expansion of the Medicaid program in New Hampshire.

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday announced Varnum’s appointment to the commission, which was included in the budget she signed into law last week. The commission must issue a report by Oct. 15 that will look at how the state-run, federal insurance program for the poor can be expanded to cover more low-income people in the state.

New Hampshire stands to lose approximately $1 million in federal funds per day for every day past Jan. 1, 2014, that Medicaid expansion is delayed.

“Accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds available for Medicaid expansion is critical for boosting our economy, transforming our health care system, and providing needed health coverage for tens of thousands of New Hampshire working families,” Hassan said in a statement. “Jim Varnum’s deep understanding of New Hampshire’s health care system and his decades of experience will be invaluable to the Medicaid expansion commission’s work, and I thank him for agreeing to take on this important responsibility.”

Varnum served as president of Mary Hitchcock, part of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system, from 1978 until his retirement in 2006. He also founded and served as president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Alliance from 1983 to 2006. He is currently the president of the Board of Trustees of the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council in Lebanon, and has served on the boards of several other health care organizations in New Hampshire and Vermont.