Novant would bring UNC Health, med school as part of partnership with NHRMC

Novant would bring UNC Health, med school as part of partnership with NHRMC

BRUNSWICK COUNTY (WECT) - Novant Health announced a new detail of its proposal to partner with New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

According to a press release sent Thursday morning, Novant would bring UNC Health and the UNC School of Medicine as part of a potential partnership, if chosen.

Novant is one of three organizations the Partnership Advisory Group exploring the future of NHRMC selected for further due diligence.

“I am pleased to ensure that the medical education that exists at NHRMC with the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health can continue if Novant Health is selected to partner with NHRMC,” Carl S. Armato, president and CEO for Novant Health, said in the release. “Maintaining and expanding medical education at NHRMC will allow Novant Health to best serve the Wilmington community while continuing to build the pipeline of physician talent for North Carolina."

UNC had also submitted a response to the PAG’s request for proposals, and had indicated if it were not chosen, the organization would have to pull its affiliation from NHRMC.

According to the release, Novant and UNC have signed a letter of intent expressing the desire of “expanding the medical education program at NHRMC, including enhancing the long-standing pediatric program and other service lines as appropriate” if Novant is selected.

Executive Dean of the UNC School of Medicine Dr. Cristy Page said they are excited to be included as part of the possible partnership.

“We’re delighted by the opportunity as we believe that together we offer New Hanover Regional, and the whole area of Southeastern North Carolina, the optimal partner in both clinical operations and in medical education,” she said, “and our participation with Novant is something that has a lot of opportunity, as we grow a healthy and positive and long term relationship, to benefit the people and the community.”

She said the partnership would not only allow UNC’s relationship with NHRMC to be maintained, but would allow the footprint of the medical school in Wilmington to grow.

“It complements Novant and it allows us to fulfill our mission to improve the health and well being of North Carolinians. So it really is an optimal partnership,” she said.

Leaders React

WECT reached out to all five members of the New Hanover County Commission for their reactions to the developments with Novant’s proposal.

“Today’s announcement by Novant and UNC-CH Medical School is welcome news,” said Commissioner Woody White. “Having an academic component to a regional hospital has been rewarding for NHRMC over the last few decades, and the possibility of furthering this partnership should excite any open-minded and rational person who is watching this process.”

White added he is interested to see how the other two respondents selected for further due diligence, Atrium Health and Duke Health, respond to the news.

Commission Chair Julia Boseman, who has been vocal about her desire for the future of NHRMC to include a medical school component, said she is also pleased to see UNC included in Novant’s proposal.

“I see this as great news for our community and our region,” she said. “These organizations are clearly listening to the community and taking this step to ensure their proposal not only shows a commitment to grow healthcare services and invest in the community, but also enhances medical education for our region. That is so important, and I look forward to learning more about what this and the other two proposals can bring to our community to secure healthcare for generations to come.”

The PAG was already set to meet for a regularly-scheduled session at 5:30 Thursday.

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