CONCORD, N.H. — Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is opening a geriatric emergency department, joining about 100 other hospitals around the country that have implemented specialized acute care for older adults.

While most of the others are in urban areas, Dartmouth-Hitchcock is collaborating with group of nonprofit organizations called West Health to focus on the rural population of northern New England, where New Hampshire and neighboring Maine and Vermont have the oldest median populations in the country.

Over three years, Dartmouth-Hitchcock will develop specialized areas within its emergency department in Lebanon and then use telehealth to expand to four other sites around the region.

West Health, which works to improve health care for older adults who want to age in place, is contributing $3 million to the initiative, while Dartmouth-Hitchcock will contribute $1.5 million.

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