Process Begins to Dig Deeper and Learn More About Potential Partners

May 22, 2020

The NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group is moving ahead with its exploration of three potential partners to help New Hanover Regional Medical Center better serve the growing region.

The group’s recommendation to focus their evaluation on partnerships with Atrium Health, Duke Health and Novant Health has been approved by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners and the NHRMC Board of Trustees. With those approvals, the Partnership Advisory Group has begun to conduct site visits with the organizations and set the framework for letters of intent.

Members of the Partnership Advisory Group approved core considerations for the letters of intent at their meeting on May 21. They include:

  • Commitment to NHRMC’s current charity and indigent care policy
  • Health Equity commitment
  • Enhance the scope, level and areas of services
  • Medical education and other clinical training programs through an academic affiliation
  • Local Board Governance of NHRMC
  • Capital projects and commitments to expand services to the community
  • Programs, resources, and technology to support high quality, affordable care
  • Protections for NHRMC staff employment and programs that support engagement, retention, and career development
  • Preservation of NHRMC medical staff’s governance structure and existing agreements for some period of time

Representatives of NHRMC and New Hanover County will work to negotiate letters of intent with each of the three organizations to provide the best options for the Partnership Advisory Group to consider as they continue their evaluation. They will compare those options against how NHRMC could serve the region without a partnership, a benchmark that has been a part of ongoing discussions among the Partnership Advisory Group, NHRMC Board of Trustees, and New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

“We are being thorough in our evaluation of all the options,” said Barb Biehner, co-chair of the Partnership Advisory Group and member of the NHRMC Board of Trustees. “We want to get to what is best for the people of this region and their healthcare.”

On Thursday, Novant Health and UNC Health issued a news release saying they have signed a letter of intent to enhance medical education and clinical services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in the event Novant is selected as a partner.   Details of how that will change their proposals will be explored along with further discussions and new information from Atrium Health and Duke Health.

To understand how the culture and commitments of the potential partners align with NHRMC, members of the Partnership Advisory Group and the support team are meeting with representatives of each of the organizations virtually and in person over the next few weeks.  Those meetings will be followed by public presentations to the full group in early June.

New Hanover County will hold a public hearing for members of the community to share their comments on June 22. Details are being confirmed and will be announced to the public in the coming weeks.