The New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) Board of Trustees has approved taking the next step in negotiating a partnership between New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Novant Health, an agreement that would also lead to an expanded relationship with UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine.
In addition to approving the recommendation from the citizen-led Partnership Advisory Group at their meeting July 7, 2020, the Board passed a resolution appreciating and endorsing a concept from County Commissioners to put $200 million from the sale of NHRMC into a fund that would go to support NHRMC employees and area providers. The NHRMC Team Investment and Resiliency Fund would help ensure a beneficial transition from NHRMC’s existing pension plan to Novant Health’s retirement plan and support staff and provider retention and resiliency initiatives.
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“While we firmly believe a partnership is in the best interest of the community and the NHRMC team, we know any transition is difficult for those doing the work and continuing to provide care,” said Jason Thompson, Chairman of the NHRMC Board of Trustees. “We want to provide the resources to help them personally and professionally so they will stay with NHRMC and grow with the organization for many years to come.”
The $200 million would come out of the approximately $1.9 billion in proceeds that would go to New Hanover County if a sale is completed.
“Our Commissioners and NHRMC leaders told us very clearly that they want any change to be good for the team currently working at New Hanover Regional Medical Center,” said Thompson. “This is one of the ways we can both recognize their great work and show how much we want them to continue with us.”
In addition to the NHRMC Team Investment and Resiliency Fund and based on consultation with county officials, the NHRMC Board of Trustees is endorsing a concept from County Commissioners for $300 million to be allocated for a New Hanover County Revenue Stabilization Fund to help protect local taxpayers from unexpected expenses and downturns and $50 million be placed in a Mental and Behavioral Health Fund to address one of our county’s greatest challenges.
The Board of Trustees also endorsed establishing a $1.25 billion community foundation through the county to provide financial support to health and social equity, local education, community development, and community safety.
The NHRMC Board of Trustees has been actively involved in the partnership exploration, both through the six members of the board that participated in the Partnership Advisory Group and an expanded meeting schedule to accommodate regular updates on the process as well as presentations from the proposed partners.
“The board’s evaluation of what is best for the future of this organization and the region aligns with the recommendation made by the Partnership Advisory Group,” said Thompson. “We see the partnership with Novant Health as the best way to meet the growing needs of the region with expanded services, more affordable care options, and a culture that is similar to NHRMC’s.”
The 21-member Partnership Advisory Group was established as a sub-committee of the NHRMC Board of Trustees and New Hanover County Board of Commissioners in September 2019. The group voted to recommend to the boards a partnership with Novant Health, UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine at its meeting July 2.
The unanimous decision came after nine months of evaluation. The Partnership Advisory Group studied the challenges NHRMC faces in growing quickly enough to serve the region while adapting to changes in the industry. They also learned how local residents could benefit from NHRMC’s integration into a system with the infrastructure and track record for advancing care while controlling costs.
The Partnership Advisory Group’s recommendation, with the endorsement of the NHRMC Board of Trustees, will go to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners at its meeting on July 13. If the Commissioners approve the recommendation, NHRMC and New Hanover County will execute a letter of intent with Novant Health and move toward a definitive agreement, which would be made public for further review and comment before any final decision is made.
Proposals and meeting information are available online at www.nhrmcfuture.org.