ROCHESTER — Matt Larkin is facing a significant challenge as he takes the helm as interim chief executive officer at Frisbie Memorial Hospital.

He is immediately faced with an exodus of primary care doctors with 12 of 14 on staff having left or in the process of leaving practices affiliated with Frisbie, which was acquired in 2020 by HCA Healthcare.

‘Yes, this has happened and we are working to assure we can support the hospital with local coverage while we are actively recruiting new staff,” Larkin said. “It is not a RIF (reduction in force). Sometimes when an organization changes administration, we can see attrition. Those physicians who left are fantastic, and we hope as we reorganize some may come back. Some of them are staying local and some may be leaving the area.”

Frisbie Memorial Hospital, in becoming part of HCA Healthcare, transitioned from a community nonprofit hospital to part of a for-profit company that operates hospitals across the United States and in the United Kingdom. In New Hampshire, HCA also operates Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Parkland Medical Center in Derry.

Larkin said Frisbie’s goal, as it rebuilds practices, is that some of the physicians leaving will take a look at what they are doing and want to return. He said five to six practices are affected by the departures of physicians. He said Frisbie is looking to help with any patients who might be concerned with having coverage.

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“We have nine recruits in the pipeline right now,” Larkin said. “Beyond primary care, we are recruiting for other departments like OB/GYN, hematology and oncology. HCA made no direct changes to account for the attrition. It seems a perfect storm of events that just happened. We have a really positive feel for our emergency and other services, and we want people to know we are here to handle any situation.”