By John Smist | June 10, 2020 at 9:08 PM EDT – Updated June 10 at 10:09 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Members of the committee that will help decide the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) heard the second of three presentations Wednesday from a potential partner.
In a virtual meeting, representatives from Novant Health presented details of its plans for NHRMC to members of the Partnership Advisory Group (PAG), a citizen-led group that has been evaluating options for the hospital’s future for several months.
During the presentation, Novant’s Chief Executive Officer Carl Armato discussed how his organization can improve healthcare in the region.
“Novant Health exists to improve the health and communities one person at a time,” said Armato. “Safety should come first along with superior quality in all that we deliver in health care.”
The future of health care in the region is something that PAG members take seriously.
“We all take this responsibility very seriously,” said PAG co-chair Spence Broadhurst. “I think every member of the advisory group has been engaged to that level; we don’t consider it a burden we consider it an honor and opportunity. And, we do recognize the significance of it.”
“There isn’t much more important when you look at our futures,” said PAG co-chair Barb Biehner. “Many of us came here with the thoughts of retiring but we’re still working, but still want to retire here, and that healthcare is going to be very important in the years to come. And, there’s nothing more important to me than that.”
The presentation also highlighted Novant’s partnership with the University of North Carolina (UNC)’s School of Medicine, and what it can bring to NHRMC.
“Our goal is to train more medical students and other health professionals at NHRMC,” said Wesley Burks Dean, UNC School of Medicine Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and CEO for UNC Health Care.
Through the partnership with Novant Health, Dean spoke of wanting to expand the UNC School of Medicine’s branch campus in Wilmington and develop a UNC health sciences campus in the city as well.
UNC would also expand patient opportunities by making clinical trials available locally, eliminating the need to travel to Chapel Hill.
Both Broadhurst and Biehner agreed that Novant Health made the final three because of the partnership with the UNC School of Medicine.
Novant’s offer also includes:
- Proposed Structure: Creation of a locally-governed, “next-generation” regional delivery network with NHRMC as the “nucleus” with multiple structures offered, from management agreement to joint venture.
- Finances: $2 billion cash to New Hanover County, plus 100 percent funding of NHRMC’s capital needs, roughly $3.1 billion.
- Employees: No changes to employment without consent of NHRMC board, and would commit to maintaining existing provider relationships.
- Health Equity: Would expand charity care by 200-300 percent.
- Other points: Brunswick Medical Center would allow for “decanting” of patients and services outside of New Hanover County; touts experience with value-based care.
On Thursday, representatives from Atrium Health will make a presentation to members of the Partnership Advisory Group. It will be streamed live for the public to view on NHCTV.com and NHCTV cable stations (Spectrum channel 13 and Charter channel 5) from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.. Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 22 for the public to comment on all six proposals received regarding the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
All six proposals, executive summaries, and answers to follow-up questions are available online at www.nhrmcfuture.org, along with presentations, minutes and audio recordings from the PAG’s meetings. Community members can share their opinions with the committee at any time by emailing PAGcomments@nhcgov.com.
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