NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council is set to discuss a resolution urging the county to table the proposal to sell the hospital for at least a year to spend time addressing community’s concerns. However, President and CEO John Gizdic and County Manager Chris Coudriet say they are not changing the plan.
The council’s resolution asks New Hanover County to spend the year discussing health care issues, funding, hospital economics, and antitrust issues.
“I believe what the City Council is requesting is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish through the process that has been outlined,” Gizdic said.
On Tuesday, Wilmington City Council plans to vote on pushing back the process of creating a request for proposals for a year to “hold extensive community discussion… so that the community may have a thorough appreciation of the issues and be confident that their best interests is paramount…,” as stated in the proposal.
Gizdic says this should not be tabled. He says he’s surprised by the timing of this resolution, but this plan is still a go. Gizdic says this has been a long deliberate process that has involved the community.
“As part of the resolution that was approved by the county commissioners on September 16, they approved a Partnership Advisory Group (PAG),” Gizdic said. “This would be a group that is representing the community that would come together and take point on this process.”
Coudriet says, as of last night, 19 people have confirmed their position in the PAG.
He says the group is made up of 5 hospital trustee members, 5 physicians, and 9 community members with it almost evenly men and women. He says around 25% are African American. Coudriet adds some of them have been outspoken against the sale. He says the NHRMC Board of Trustees endorsed all 9 of the community members, which include a clergy, a finance expert, business expert and a nursing expert.
Gizdic says the 5 physicians were chosen by the NHRMC staff.
“A very important part of the Partnership Advisory Group in place…is the very fact that they represent the community,” Gizdic said. “It’s not just John Gizdic or Chris Codriet that is driving this process. It will be all 19 members of that Partnership Advisory Group who come from all different parts of our community.”
He says their tasks will include “..issuing the RFP on behalf of the county, coming up with the organizations we would send that to,as well as then, evaluating those proposals when we get them back probably sometime in the late Spring.”
The City’s resolution pushes to keep the hospital locally controlled, but Gizdic says a sale is not the only option.
With a rapidly growing community, he says it’s a matter of figuring out what is required to be successful. Gizdic says, over the last several years, there has been a significant increase in surgeries, inpatient admissions and physician office visits.
“I really don’t see delaying or tabling this process for a year as being helpful at all,” Gizdic said.
Coudriet says, with only two business days until Tuesday, the PAG members will be announced before the hearing, but will not meet before then as previously stated.
The county is holding another public hearing on Tuesday at Snipes Elementary School from 4 to 7 pm. The community will be able to share feedback with commissioners. It will also be streamed live on the county’s Facebook page.
We reached out to Wilmington City Council members. Those, who responded, did not want to comment.