NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Partnership Advisory Group or PAG, responsible for exploring the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, unanimously approved a request for proposal Thursday night.
“We have the not-for-profit hospitals that you’d expect, the for-profit hospitals that you’d expect, but then we’ve got some insurance companies, some technology companies, some real estate investment companies,” said PAG co-chair Spence Broadhurst.
Organizations that have requested the RFP include Duke Health, UNC Health, Atrium Health, and Novant Health among others. Organizations that the group has chosen to reach out to include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Wake Med, the Mayo Clinic, and more.
“One of those names was Haven, a business that’s partially owned by Amazon,” said PAG member and NHRMC physician Joseph Pino.
The request for proposal will be sent to potential buyers and partners Monday with a deadline of March 16. Broadhurst says during that two month period, the group will explore other options for the hospital.
“We’re going to attack the possibility and what it looks like to stay independent with the same vigor that we’ve attacked the RFP,” Broadhurst said.
Once the proposals come back, the group will begin to compare each one and decide what they believe is best for the hospital.
“We will see which ones really align with our strategic plan, really address the issues that we’re looking at, and start to filter it down from there,” Broadhurst said.
Once all the proposals are in, they will be put online for the public to review. County commissioners will then hold a hearing to get public input.
Here is the full statement on the matter from New Hanover County:
“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).
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.
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 PAGComments@nhcgov.com.”