By WECT Staff | January 14, 2020 at 5:11 PM EST – Updated January 14 at 5:12 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The advisory group that is tasked with overseeing the possible sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center says that a political television advertisement that is claiming NHRMC is being sold to an out-of-state for-profit corporation is “spreading false narratives” and “advancing political agendas.”
The ad, which has run on WECT, is paid for by the State Employees Association of North Carolina and advocates for State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s clear pricing project which he says increases transparency with health care expenses and addresses rising costs.
In the commercial, a narrator says the project “ends hospital secret contracts, makes billing transparent and fair” then pivots to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, saying the hospital refused to join Folwell’s Clear Pricing Project.
“They have a different idea: sell our county hospital to an out-of-state for-profit corporation,” the ad states. The narrator then asks “Do we want to risk a giant, out-of-state corporation profiting off our healthcare?”
The ad ends by asking viewers to tell “New Hanover, don’t sell us out, join Dale Folwell’s clear pricing project.”
Julia Olson-Boseman, chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners and member of the NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group (PAG), and Jason Thompson, chairman of the NHRMC Board of Trustees, co-authored letters sent to Folwell and the State Employees Association of North Carolina, saying the commercial is “deliberately inflammatory and meant to mislead area citizens.”
“You may say your office had nothing to do with these commercials, but we believe you could convince SEANC to stop them,” the letter to Folwell stated. “We would like you to do so. If unsuccessful, then publicly denounce the use of these lies to advance your cause.”
In the letter, Olson-Boseman and Thompson refute the commercial’s claim that NHRMC is being sold to an out-of-state for-profit corporation, saying the PAG is “deliberately and openly working through the process of evaluating all options for the system” and the PAG has not made any recommendations to sell or merge because “there isn’t even a proposed sale or merger to consider at this point.”
“We understand your opposition to large health systems as they have had the strength to stand opposed to your political agenda,” the letter stated.
WECT has reached out to Folwell and officials with the State Employees Association of North Carolina for comment. We are awaiting their responses.
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