Message from John: Partnership with Novant Health and Our Way Forward

October 06, 2020
Better Together Courthouse

At Tuesday's CEO Forum, John Gizdic addressed NHRMC employees, restating the importance of Monday night's vote by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, approving NHRMC's partnership with Novant Health. In addition, Gizdic made some exciting announcements about pension and prospective retention bonuses that will positively affect all NHRMC employees. He also spent more than an hour answering employees' questions about the partnership and how we will make the transition.

The text of John's message appears below the video:

Message from John Gizdic, NHRMC CEO:

Last night was a significant moment in our community’s history.

The Board of New Hanover County Commissioners voted to approve the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health.

As the vote was happening, I felt the significance of the moment.  With that vote, the county’s elected representatives decided to put the needs of the region above their need for oversight of our healthcare system.

They voted to let us become part of something bigger – so we could serve more people and improve more lives.

They cleared the way for us to pursue our mission of leading our community to outstanding health and fulfill our vision of being an industry leader in a new era of healthcare delivery, with our thriving community serving as a national model of achieving excellence for all.

As I stood there and absorbed the significance of the vote, I thought of all of you. 

I thought of those working throughout our system: preparing meals, responding to EMS calls, and caring for patients. I thought of the thousands of people working in different roles to support each other and those we serve. I thought, particularly, of those working on the front lines - and all you have endured with COVID –19.

It has been a challenging year, full of uncertainty.

But when I signed the agreement, then walked outside to see dozens of members of our team holding “better together” signs, I felt certain of this: we have an amazing team - and this is our time to soar.

When we become a part of Novant Health, after all the regulatory hurdles are cleared, we will have an unprecedented number of new opportunities before us. People, technology, and financial support will be available to help us do all we want to do.

What we do with this opportunity is on us. We must each seize the moment and embrace the changes

required to get there.

Over the years, we have kept our focus on our patients, while expanding our view to see more than just the illness or injury that brought them to us.


We have worked to streamline and improve care and services across our organization and address the issues that could keep our patients from being well.


We have also reached out to those who are not yet our patients, to encourage them to get the care and screenings they need, so small problems don’t become larger.


We have seen what a difference it makes. 

We know there is more work to do. Most of the counties in our service area rank among the least healthy in our state. And our state is among the least healthy in the country.


Our ability to make a real, positive impact in those communities has been limited by our structure as a county-owned hospital and the resources available to us.

That is about to change.


We will be able to do more as a part of Novant Health and as the leader of the system’s coastal region. How quickly we’re able to integrate and make the most of this opportunity will determine how many lives we can touch – and how soon we can help them.


Over the coming months, while we’re sorting through regulatory approvals, we will also be getting ready for this change.

To that end, we are establishing an integration planning process and teams that will guide us through this transition.  This collaborative approach with, teammates from both NHRMC and Novant Health, will help identify and prioritize our integration efforts…and determine answers to the many questions you have.

One of the most significant questions to date has been about our benefits.  I am excited to let you know that the intent is for many of our benefits to remain unchanged through calendar year 2021.  Particularly, our health and welfare benefits (health, dental, vision) will continue as is through the end of next year. 

As we’ve discussed, our retirement benefits will have to freeze at closing.  However, we are going to use a significant portion of the $200M employee and provider retention and resiliency fund to further secure and enhance your pension benefit.  Every active pension eligible employee will receive additional years of service credit in the pension based on your age and years of service.  In addition, our teammates making under $50K, which represents over 40% of our workforce, will receive a further enhanced pension benefit on top of the additional years of service credit.

In addition to the enhanced pension benefit, we are evaluating other opportunities for the fund to reward and recognize our staff…potentially including a one-time transition award for all employees, an ongoing annual retention incentive for all employees for up to a decade, and establishing dedicated resiliency funds for our employees and providers to address the effects of burn-out.  More details will be forthcoming as we finalize all of these plans.

We will continue to work on answers to your other benefits questions, such as PDO, but we wanted to share this fantastic news with you as we continue to put our employees first.


Even more important, we’ll be working through how we transform, preserving all we like about our culture and organization while becoming so much more.

This is an exciting time – full of promise and opportunity for each of us. Thank you for all you have done to get us here – and what you will do on our way forward.