At today’s New Hanover County Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioners discussed whether to move forward with exploring options for a potential new model for New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC). In 3-2 vote, Commissioners approved a resolution that will allow the county to accept proposals from other health systems and get more information to determine how best to secure the future of healthcare in the region.
The exploration comes at a time in which all healthcare organizations are working to adapt to the reinvention of the industry from one focused solely on providing sick care to one that also promotes wellness through better access to care, more affordable care options, and the elimination of health disparities.
The approved resolution and direction of the board begins a research phase to understand what options exist for NHRMC, including a potential sale, other partnerships, and an evaluation of options for NHRMC to remain county owned. The resolution does not direct or confirm a sale of NHRMC.
“It is important to ensure the community has long-term access to the high-quality healthcare services and providers they need and deserve,” said NHRMC President and CEO John Gizdic. “To successfully transition to a new model of health care and meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, New Hanover Regional Medical Center must carefully consider options for obtaining additional personnel, financial, and structural resources. We look forward to learning more about our options through the process.”
The resolution authorizes the establishment of a Partnership Advisory Group to help develop priorities for the Request for Proposal (RFP), evaluate the proposals received, and provide a recommendation on next steps to the Board of Commissioners and NHRMC Board of Trustees. The group will include county, hospital, physician, nonprofit and community leaders and be reflective of the community’s diversity of individuals and interests.
“Since we first announced this on July 23, we have heard from our community that they want this to be a thoughtful, open and deliberate process,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “We want our citizens to trust that the public input, hearings, and proposals process over the months to come will not be rushed. We are going to take our time, ensure our community remains informed, and rely on the facts and data we receive through this process to advise Commissioners.”
Commissioners plan to conduct at least three public hearings to share information and receive community feedback through each stage of the evaluation process. The hearings will focus on the priorities for the Request for Proposals (RFP), the responses received, and the final decision on whether to move forward with an agreement or an alternative plan for maintaining county ownership.
All proposals and any final contract, if the board proceeds to that point, will be made public for the community’s review at www.NHRMCfuture.org. Details for the first public hearing and additional information about the Partnership Advisory Group will be shared with the community as soon as they are finalized.