Partnership Advisory Group makes a recommendation: Novant Health

PAG makes recommendation for NHRMC to partner with Novant

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - At what will be their last meeting for a while, the group that has spent months exploring the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center made decision.

The Partnership Advisory Group voted unanimously to officially recommend the hospital pursue a “full strategic partnership” with Novant Health.

Novant’s proposal is to form a new, regional healthcare system with NHRMC at the center. It offers $2 billion in cash up front, along with a commitment of $3.1 billion to the hospital’s capital improvement projects, a donation to a hospital foundation and seats on the Novant board.

The measure approved Thursday night recommends the county pursue a letter of intent with Novant and begin negotiations.

On Friday, Novant Health released a statement about the recommendation.

“We are honored to be selected by the Partnership Advisory Group as the recommended partner for New Hanover Regional Medical Center,” said Carl S. Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health. “Novant Health recognizes the tremendous effort and dedication by the group in determining what is best for the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center and the community it serves. Novant Health and New Hanover Regional Medical Center are natural partners with aligned values and not-for-profit charitable missions. Both organizations are committed to partnering with physicians, caring for team members, as well as having a shared history of delivering a superior, patient-centered experience, improving community health and promoting equitable access to care.”

Advisory Group members have been meeting formally for the last nine months, after the county announced in July 2019 leaders would recommend the county commission kick-start the process.

The issue will go before the NHRMC Board of Trustees on July 7, and before the New Hanover County Commission on July 13.

The commission will have the final say on whether or not to partner with Novant.

Before the official vote was even taken, Atrium Health, which was one of the other two finalists along with Duke Health, responded to the development.

“Over the past few months, it has been an honor for Atrium Health to share our vision and goals for what we could have achieved together with New Hanover Regional Medical Center. While we are disappointed the Partnership Advisory Group is not recommending Atrium Health as the finalist to advance in this process, we respect their decision and understand the tough choice they had to make with $5 billion being offered by the recommended finalist.”

Novant’s proposal offers New Hanover County $2 billion up

NHRMC CEO John Gizdic offered words of thanks to PAG members.

“Throughout this process, I cannot tell you how extremely impressed I have been with each and every one of you on the Partnership advisory group,” he said. “I believe that your commitment to making the right choice for our organization and our community, is truly remarkable.”

He called the decision “tough,” “bold” and “passionate.”

Gizdic said he thinks too much of the conversation over the last year has been about what the hospital would lose, but that the decision by the PAG is about opportunity.

“Tonight, we choose possibility. Tonight, we choose a healthier community. Tonight, we choose to transform health in our region.”

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.