WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — To sell or not to sell? It’s been a hot topic ever since county leaders announced they were considering selling New Hanover Regional Medical Center in July. Now, a newly formed Partnership Advisory Group will play a major role in that debate.
Former Wilmington Mayor Spence Broadhurst was elected co-chair of the PAG during the group’s first meeting Tuesday night.
“Getting this right is much more important than doing this quickly,” Broadhurst said. “And if there comes a time when we need to slow down, then we’ll slow down.”
The 19-member group is made up of nine community members, five physicians, and 5 members of the hospital Board of Trustees. Over the next couple of months, they must select a minimum of five health care systems which they will ask to submit proposals to the county to purchase the hospital.
“We’re going to have different opinions,” said Broadhurst. “We’re going to get the same facts and draw different conclusions, that’s why you have representation from different segments of the community.”
The requests for proposal could begin going out as soon as December. During Tuesday’s meeting, PAG Vice-Co Chair Bill Cameron voiced concerns that a charter document sent to group members seemed to focus more on requests for proposal than exploring other options.
“I just want to make sure that as we go through this process,” Cameron said, “we are looking at the possibility and what would it be like for the hospital either to stay as-is if that’s a viable alternative, or some kind of restructuring of the hospital.”
The public was not able to voice their opinions at Tuesday’s meeting.
After reviewing requests for proposal, the PAG will make recommendations to county commissioners who will make the ultimate decision whether or not to sell.
The group will meet again on November 13 at 5:30 p.m.