WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) hosted a virtual town hall with Save Our Hospital to discuss the proposed sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
SEANC opposes the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) on behalf of the 42,000 State Health Plan members who stand to be have their access limited and costs raised as a result of this sale.
“Globally, with these mergers we have not achieved benefits to the patients,” said Dr. Kyle Horton, who is opposed to the sale. “Bigger isn’t always better. And what we see in these global trends over the past ten years is that there are a few folks that do real well. But we know that prices get drawn up and monopolies get bigger.”
Members of SEANC and Save Our Hospital raised questions about the process of the possible sale and the transparency of it.
Amanda Finelli of SEANC said in a recent survey that seventy percent of the people polled opposed the sale of the hospital.
New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple joined the meeting and answered questions about the finances of the hospital and if it needs to be sold.
“I am convinced the hospital the way it currently stands today is not sustainable,” said Zapple. “And, as we move to the future that the status quo won’t work for our community.”
Spence Broadhurst the co-chair of the Partnership Advisory Group (PAG), which has been put in charge of making a recommendation on what to do with the hospital, also joined the Zoom meeting.
Broadhurst was asked if the PAG had looked at all options for the hospital to be able to raise capital to dive forward with its strategic plan.
“It’s just a matter of capital affordability and we just can’t do it alone,” said Broadhurst. “And as the advisory board, we have chased down and talked about restructure.”
Broadhurst stated that the long-term part of the strategic plan is between 1.3 to 1.4 billion dollars.
“How are we going to get healthcare to impoverished people into areas that need it?” said Broadhurst. “We don’t have the money to do that. We don’t have the capital to do that.”
The PAG, which meets this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., said in its last meeting that it believes a partnership is the best choice for bringing more services to this region to meet growing population needs.