County Responds To Political Ad Regarding Medical Center

County Responds To Political Ad Regarding Medical Center

County Responds To Political Ad Regarding Medical Center Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 15 January 2020 23:41

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a "Resolution of Intent to Sell New Hanover Regional Medical Center" following a three to two vote during their Monday September 16th, meeting.

According to a statement issued by New Hanover County on July 23rd, "In a proactive step to evaluate how New Hanover Regional Medical Center can best serve area residents well into the future, New Hanover County and New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) announced today that the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution to explore new ownership opportunities for NHRMC at its September" meeting.

The County founded the Medical Center in 1967 and it has operated during that time as a self-sustaining entity without utilizing county tax revenues for operations.

John Gizdic, President and CEO of NHRMC, explained, "When we look to the future, we envision being part of a thriving community that is a model for health and wellness. We want to empower our staff and providers to provide exceptional care wherever it’s needed and work with our communities to minimize and eliminate some of the biggest threats to wellness. This is our mission and the vision that motivates us to explore every possible path toward achieving it."

He explained, "We’re clinically, financially and operationally strong today, but we recognize that to prepare for an uncertain future, we need to consider new ways to support investments in the people, technology and services that can make a significant difference in the health of our community."

According to the joint release from the County and NHRMC, if the majority of Commissioners vote in favor of soliciting bids from potential partners, they will work with NHRMC leaders to evaluate whether another organization could advance NHRMC priorities that include:
• Improving access to care and wellness through more consumer-centric options.
• Advancing the value of the care we provide through higher quality and lower costs, effectively managing the health of our region to not only treat the sick but keep them well.
• Achieving health equity through community partnerships and activities that remove barriers to care, enabling our residents to achieve their own optimal health.
• Supporting NHRMC staff and the culture that has made NHRMC one of the top places to work in the country.
• Partnering with providers to make southeastern North Carolina an excellent place to practice medicine so we can continue to attract talented and compassionate providers to care for our growing population.
• Driving quality care throughout the continuum and helping facilitate transitions with other providers to deliver more seamless and coordinated care models.
• Growing the level and scope of care already in place for all, regardless of ability to pay.
• Investing to ensure the long-term financial security and future of our health system.

The Board of Commissioners voted to adopt the resolution with Commissioners Jonathan Barfield and Rob Zapple voting no and Commissioners Woody White, Julia Boseman and Patricia Kusek voting in favor of the resolution of intent to sell the hospital.

According to County officials, the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Partnership Advisory Group has approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) that seeks information from other organizations interested in a partnership with NHRMC.

The RFP was approved at the January 9, 2020 meeting and will be sent to more than 25 organizations on Monday, January 13, 2020. Any organization, including those who have not already been identified, will have until Monday, March 16, 2020 to respond. The RFP will also be posted on NHRMCFuture.org. All proposals received will be made public and a public hearing will be held to discuss them.

"The approval and issuance of the RFP is a critical step in our fact-finding phase,” said Partnership Advisory Group Co-Chair Spence Broadhurst. “I commend the entire advisory team for their commitment and diligence to get us to this important point in our process."

The committee of 21 area citizens has been given the responsibility of exploring options for NHRMC that could include a restructuring and/or a range of partnership models to help NHRMC meet the needs of the area’s rapidly growing population and adapt to changes in the healthcare industry.

The RFP includes 10 goals and objectives that tie to the mission, values and strategic plan of NHRMC as well as the corresponding public health mission and strategic plan of New Hanover County. The goals, which have been endorsed by the NHRMC Board of Trustees and approved by the advisory group, establish a framework that can be used to evaluate proposals from other health systems.

Those objectives are: improving access to care and wellness; advancing the value of care; achieving health equity; engaging staff; partnering with providers; driving quality of care throughout the continuum; improving the level and scope of care; investing to ensure long-term financial security; strategic positioning; and effective governance. (Visit NHRMCFuture.org to read more about each goal).

"Utilizing the detailed goals and objectives, which make up the foundation of New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s strategic plan, gives us a clear outline to ensure any potential partner would be closely aligned with the long-term vision of our hospital medical providers, staff, trustees and commissioners," Broadhurst said.
Versions of the objectives and other components of the RFP, including a full draft RFP, have been shared at NHRMCfuture.org following each PAG meeting as they have been developed.

The RFP includes a lengthy list of specific questions around each of the 10 goals and respondents will be asked to describe how their proposed strategic partnership will impact these goals. That will ensure the Partnership Advisory Group and community can weigh the benefits and risks of each proposed option.

State law requires the RFP be sent to anyone who asks for it, and at least five organizations. Sixteen organizations have indicated interest in receiving it:
Atrium Health; Bon Secours Mercy Health; Citi on behalf of Vidant Health; Cone Health; Duke Health; Flagstone Heritage; HCA Healthcare; Hospital Acquisition Services; Juniper Advisory; LifePoint Health; Novant Health; Optum; Pontus Capital; Sentara Healthcare; UNC Health Care; Universal Health Services (UHS).

According to the County, additionally, the PAG decided to make the following organizations aware of the RFP:
Advocate Health Care; BlueCross Blue Shield of North Carolina; Carilion Clinic; Cleveland Clinic; Geisinger; Google/Ascension; Haven; Intermountain Healthcare; Johns Hopkins Medicine; Kaiser Permanente; Mayo Clinic; Trinity Health; WakeMed.

While the RFP is out, Advisory Group members will devote time to evaluating alternative governance structures and other options for remaining independent, including remaining a stand-alone county-owned public hospital.

"While completing the RFP is an important milestone, it is only one step in our process," said PAG Co-Chair Barb Biehner. "We will also explore and consider other options that may or may not involve a partnership. We look forward to learning more about those and discussing how they could help us achieve our goals."

The Partnership Advisory Group was established following the New Hanover County Commissioners’ September 16, 2019 approval of a resolution to begin a research phase to understand what options exist for NHRMC’s future. The group includes nine community members, five NHRMC Trustees and five physicians. These five physicians were appointed by an advisory committee of NHRMC’s Medical Staff (the body of all physicians who have privileges at the hospital—both independent and affiliated physicians). This larger physician advisory committee has been involved in reviewing and providing feedback on the goals and objectives and RFP questions.
NHC and NHRMC board chairs send letters in response to political ad New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman explained in a release to the public on Tuesday January 14th, "A recent political ad, paid for by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, deliberately tries to damage the work of the Partnership Advisory Group members, who are giving their time and volunteering to make healthcare in our community better for everyone. To suggest that the PAG or NHRMC is actively trying to sell our hospital to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation is a falsehood. A list of the organizations interested in some form of partnership with NHRMC has been publicized and includes more than 25 organizations – most of them not-for-profits (a slide from a PAG presentation is below to show the range of organizations). The PAG is also undergoing a deliberate and detailed process over the coming months on how to remain county-owned. All of this is laying the foundation and groundwork to know where we go from this point, and what is the best option for our healthcare system to ensure it can continue delivering the best quality care to our community well into the future. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate. That’s why I, along with NHRMC Board of Trustees Chair Jason Thompson, have co-authored letters that were sent to the State Employees Association of North Carolina and to North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who the ad is endorsing. We have asked them to stop spreading false narratives that are only meant to advance their political agendas, and I sincerely hope they will stop misleading our citizens."

Visit NHRMCFuture.org to read the full RFP, see and hear presentations and discussions, find a calendar of public meetings, and sign-up for email updates. The public can also email the Advisory Group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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