WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) Board of Trustees on Thursday voted to approve the proposed asset purchase agreement with Novant Health. The vote was 16-1 in favor of the agreement; John R. (Rod) Andrew cast the dissenting vote.
“This is a historic vote for our 53-year-old organization. Just as our founding [the hospital] took bold leadership and a vision for a better future, we firmly believe this partnership is in the best interest of our patients, staff, providers, and community,” said Jason Thompson, Chairman of the NHRMC Board of Trustees. “The partnership with Novant Health is the best way to meet the growing needs of the region with expanded services, more affordable care options, and a focus on quality and health equity while maintaining NHRMC’s positive culture.”
Before the vote Andrew stated why he was voting against the agreement.
“The hospital is an asset to the county,” said Andrew. “What is next, sell the airport? As a county we’ll never be able to get the hospital back, this is why I’ll vote no."
Novant Health, a North Carolina not-for-profit health system, has agreed to purchase NHRMC from New Hanover County for $1.5 billion and invest more than $3 billion in growing and advancing NHRMC’s services in the area.
NHRMC Medical Staff President and board of trustees member Mary Rudyk, MD says they took everything into consideration, including the employees.
“We have looked at the employees and we’ve looked at the pension fund," said Rudyk. "We have looked at job security and I would tell them, this is the best way for the future. And, as for job security concerns...if they are staying at New Hanover...that for the time being, that’s really what’s going to happen.”
Rudyk believes the move is not just what is best for the hospital, but also for the region.
“What we all looked at, was what’s best for the hospital," said Rudyk. "We looked at what was best for the community, what’s best for generations to come. How can we support having a great quality hospital system for our area in the region for generations to come?”
The vote is the next-to-last hurdle before NHRMC could be taken over by Novant Health.
The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday, October 5 at 4 p.m. to consider and vote on the following:
- Asset Purchase Agreement between New Hanover County, NHRMC and Novant Health
- Use of net proceeds (which is included in the Asset Purchase Agreement as “Exhibit C” and referred to previously as “Exhibit D” in the approved Letter of Intent), which includes establishing a $1.25 billion community endowment to benefit residents and support the community
- Bylaws for a community endowment
- The termination of the lease between the county and NHRMC (if the Asset Purchase Agreement is approved, the current lease agreement between New Hanover County and NHRMC would terminate at closing, because properties and facilities being leased would be sold by the county, making the lease no longer relevant).
The public is invited to attend the County Commissioners' meeting at the New Hanover County Courthouse at 316 Princess Street, but capacity is limited because of COVID-19 regulations. The meeting can be viewed live on NHCTV.com and NHCTV’s cable stations: Spectrum channel 13 and Charter channel 5.
On Tuesday the Partnership Advisory Group voted unanimously to move forward with the sale of the hospital.