Business leaders: ‘Is a sale of NHRMC eventually inevitable?’

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New Hanover Regional Medical Center. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — More people are getting the chance to learn more about the possible sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

New Hanover County and NHRMC hosted a round table Thursday morning at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce to tell business leaders a little more.

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“It’s inevitable that we need a bigger partner,” former NHRMC CEO Jack Barto said. “I always knew at some point, no matter where we were in the process, that standing alone was not going to be our long-term solution. It was going to have to change.”

As the health care system changes, Barto says now is the perfect time to ask should the county consider selling the hospital?

County Manager Chris Coudriet and NHRMC CEO John Gizdic hosted the round table for business leaders to ask questions.



“Health care costs are important to businesses,” Gizdic said. “It is usually a major expense for businesses, so they would have a vested interest in the future of our health system, and ensuring that we’re continuing with the high quality that we’re providing, but also in a way that would continue to reduce the overall cost of care.”

Gizdic says everyone could be affected by a potential sale in some way. He wants everyone to be informed every step of the way.

“My feeling is, once you start that process, it will be almost impossible to stop it,” Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady said. “So you are really committing to it.”

O’Grady says he does not know enough about the proposal yet to make a decision, but the reasoning for asking the question now makes sense.

Gizdic says the hospital is in the best position it’s been in in its 52 years because they have been proactive.

“On one hand it’s change,” Gizdic said. “It’s uncertainty. So that can certainly be very scary. The fear of the unknown. At the same time, it can be amazing for our community and our organization.”

Gizdic and Coudriet say one of their top priorities in this decision is maintaining the level of care the hospital provides.

Questions still linger for everyone, but Barto says now is the time to open the tale for discussion.

“If you don’t ask the question, you’re never going to know the answer and I think it’s time to ask it, and I think it’s the perfect time to ask it right now,” Barto said.

The county and the hospital will host two public meetings on August 19 and 20.

On September 3, county commissioners will vote on whether to pursue selling the hospital.