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Six months in: NHRMC president weighs in on Novant acquisition

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 1:42 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s been six months since Novant Health acquired New Hanover Regional Medical Center, an acquisition that was met with staunch community resistance. Despite the opposition, NHRMC President Shelbourn Stevens says the transition has already seen success in the short time since Novant acquired the hospital.

While the hospital is no longer owned by the county, Novant is giving back to the community in ways that it had not in the past.

“We adopted Novant Health’s charity care policy which means a family of four with a household income of $78,600 with no access to insurance would not receive a bill,” Stevens said.

And it’s not just charity care. Since the acquisition, the hospital announced a $10 million donation from Michael Jordan to open two clinics in the area to help provide medical treatment where it is needed.

The acquisition of the hospital came at a unique time being in the middle of a pandemic and as with most things, no transition is seamless. One challenge the hospital is facing is not unique to our area — a shortage of staff.

“Healthcare, in general, is facing one of the toughest staffing challenges that we have had. There was a nursing shortage before the pandemic across the US, then last year, with the pandemic, over 1 million nurses retired,” Stevens said.

Despite the challenges of staffing Stevens says the nursing staff at NHRMC have been resilient and the hospital continues to try and grow their healthcare team.

Along with the challenges that come with a staff shortage, another challenge the hospital is facing has to do with the popularity of the region. As the area continues to grow at a rapid pace, the need for healthcare increases as well. That’s something NHRMC is addressing with the expansion of services to Scotts Hill as well as in Brunswick County.

“The hospital here at 17th Street has been at capacity for quite a while, so having Scotts Hill and now having Brunswick Medical Center be a part of this coastal family we have been able to look at keeping patients locally there,” Stevens said. “We have seen all of our facilities at capacity in the last few weeks.”

While the progress made in the past six months has been positive, according to Stevens, the hospital still has more work to do, mainly in the form of expanding services to keep up with the population growth.

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