WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The future of the county’s largest hospital was up for discussion again Wednesday night.
The focus of Wednesday’s meeting was on the request for proposals, or RFPs. Those proposals are expected to go out by the end of the year and its anticipated there will be a lot of interest from potential partners.
The group discussed goals and objectives for those proposals that included maintaining quality healthcare and job security for the staff.
John Gizdic, CEO of the hospital who is part of the partnership advisory group, says protecting employees is a priority.
“Making sure that we take care of them throughout this process is one of my biggest priorities and making sure that we are able to continue the great culture that we have as an organization, as well as making sure our employees jobs and their pay and their benefits are protected through this process," Gizdic said.
Gizdic also said a partnership with New Hanover County’s largest employer could lead to more jobs for the area.
“I don’t see why we couldn’t think of this as an economic development opportunity as well. You know New Hanover Regional Medical Center is one of the largest economic drivers in our community but how could we possibly use this process and this partnership potential to grow employment and have maybe a potential partner bring new jobs to our community and help grow our economy locally.”
Prior to the partnership advisory group’s third public meeting, a round table discussion with the media about the possible sale or partnership of NHRMC was held. Barb Beihner, co-chair of the advisory group, told media representatives that they will explore all possibilities, including a sale, a partnership or staying as is. She believes the latter, though, is the least sustainable option.
“Staying as a county-owned hospital with no subsidy whatsoever when our [insurance] reimbursement is going to drop as dramatically as its going to going forward I think is not the most viable option,” she said.
The Partnership Advisory Group was established following the New Hanover County Commissioners’ approval of a resolution to begin a research phase to understand what options exist for NHRMC’s future. The group includes nine community members, five physicians, five members of NHRMC’s Board of Trustees, New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet and NHRMC President and CEO John Gizdic.
An email address has been created for the community to share feedback with the Partnership Advisory Group throughout the process. The public can email PAGcomments@nhcgov.com with comments and questions.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 5 at 5:30 at the New Hanover County Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive, in the Andre Mallete Training Room. The meetings are open to the public, but no not include a public comment period.
For a look at Wednesday night’s power point presentation, click here.