Novant Health set to own Pender Medical Center assets following transaction approval

Novant Health set to own Pender Medical Center assets following transaction approval
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 11:27 PM EDT
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BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - One of North Carolina’s largest healthcare networks is set to officially take over one medical facility in Pender County after approval to authorize a transaction.

The Pender Co. board voted unanimously to authorize a transaction, ultimately selling Pender County Medical Center, currently owned by the county, to Novant Health.

The agreement between the county and Novant includes a $50 million commitment from Novant Health to make Pender Medical Center in Burgaw into a community general hospital and increase access to health care throughout the county, according to a joint Novant and Pender County announcement.

Novant Health has managed Pender Medical Center since 2021 when the company took over as part of its purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, but since then it’s just been leasing the facility’s assets, but now it’s officially set to take ownership of them.

This all came after county commissioners asked a consulting firm – Ascendient Healthcare Advisors -- to determine what the future of healthcare in Pender County looked like.

“You all have an opportunity within five years to have Pender Memorial Hospital be a Community General Hospital. With that $50 million investment over 10 years and an opportunity to grow and improve services in this community. And I think that’s a really positive thing for Pender County,” said Dawn Carter, senior partner with Ascendient Healthcare Advisors.

Carter says this transaction is to meet the growing needs of a physically growing area.

Commissioners such as Chairwoman Jackie Newton, agreed, saying this is a positive for the community.

“We are pleased with this deal. We’ve worked hard on the deal. And we have relied heavily on the very excellent advisory team that you’ve just heard about in this decision was not taken lightly,” said Newton.

Newton and the rest of the board, still have a say in how the hospital is managed.

“The Pender County Commissioners still, as they have for the last number of years, have the authority and will appoint the majority of the Pender Memorial Hospital incorporated board. So they will still be the county will still have a direct relationship with the governance of Pender Memorial Hospital and still have that, that oversight,” said Carter.

Mary Beth Johnston who is the project attorney, says if the county and Novant work together, this transaction, can be a great thing.

“I see hospitals in North Carolina closing and I know how difficult it is having spent most of my career looking at rural communities, especially in eastern North Carolina. So this is you know, you’re gonna have to hold Novant’s feet to the fire and you’re gonna have to appoint really good board members. But yes, I think this is meeting the needs at a time when you know, you really could use it,” said Johnston.