Partnership Advisory Group hears first of three presentations from potential NHRMC partners

New Hanover Regional Medical Center hears presentation from Duke Health

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Members of the committee that will decide the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center heard the first presentation Tuesday night from a potential partner.

Duke Health walked the Partnership Advisory Group (PAG), a citizen-led group that has been evaluating options for New Hanover Regional Medical Center for several months, through its plans for NHRMC, highlighting the benefits to not only the hospital, but to the community by selecting Duke.

President of Duke Regional Hospital Katie Galbraith discussed how the partnership would help with economic development by attracting larger corporations interested in providing quality healthcare to their employees to New Hanover County.

She touted Duke’s impact in Durham, which has attracted new jobs, start-ups and companies.

The presentation also highlighted how Duke Health would allow for New Hanover County residents to maintain some local control of the facility through a local governance board. The loss of local control of the county-owned hospital is one of the primary concerns from community members.

According to the plan from Duke, the hospital would have a local governance board.

Duke also included plans for a $100 million expansion at the hospital’s campus, which would feature separate emergency, outpatient and inpatient space for a comprehensive behavioral health center.

Dr. Eugene Washington, Duke University Health System’s President and CEO, pointed out how closely aligned the mission statements are of the two organizations.

NHRMC’s is “Leading Our Community to Outstanding Health” and Duke’s is “Advancing Health Together.”

“We appreciate that this is indeed a once in the generation, transformative opportunity,” said Dr. Washington. “We want to assure you that we will work with you to achieve the ultimate goal of improving the lives of the people who live in the communities we serve.”

Duke’s Power Point presentation can be seen here.

Duke’s offer also includes:

  • Proposed Structure: Strategic partnership with a “joint business planning approach," where NHRMC board maintains fiduciary responsibility and oversight of assets and quality of care
  • Finances: $1.9 billion to ensure capital needs for next 12 years are met; $500 million cash to New Hanover County for a community foundation “or other purposes” — or $1.35-1.4 billion in cash, if that is preferred
  • Employees: Plans to keep all employees “in good standing” for at least 12 months
  • Health Equity: Would seek to continue or expand NHRMC’s programs for those in need
  • Other points: Would extend Graduate Medical Education programs; would make sure nurses serve on councils; expects to expand clinical research; would try to keep care local but would be able to streamline access to specialists at main Duke campus

Representatives from Atrium Health and Novant Health will also discuss their vision for the future in public presentations in the coming days.

All presentations are done virtually and will be streamed live for the public to view on NHCTV.com and NHCTV cable stations (Spectrum channel 13 and Charter channel 5) from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the following dates:

Wednesday, June 10: Novant Health

Thursday, June 11: Atrium Health

The PAG voted unanimously on May 7 to focus further due diligence and site visits with Atrium, Duke and Novant, and brought that recommendation before the NHRMC Board of Trustees on May 11 and New Hanover County Board of Commissioners on May 18. Both boards have endorsed the PAG's recommendation.

None of the six organizations that submitted proposals will be eliminated prior to further evaluation and public input, and the proposals continue to be evaluated against the options to remain the same or restructure.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 22 for the public to comment on all six proposals.

All six proposals, executive summaries, and answers to follow-up questions are available online at www.nhrmcfuture.org, along with presentations, minutes and audio recordings from the PAG’s meetings. Community members can share their opinions with the committee at any time by emailing PAGcomments@nhcgov.com.

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