WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It was standing room only Tuesday night as a non-profit organization called Save Our Hospital held a public meeting protesting the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Members of this organization say their reasoning against the sale boils down to quality and cost, and they believe the county is going about the sale in the wrong way.
Speaker Bill Graham believes the Partnership Advisory Group, or PAG, is being pushed to sell rather than explore options to keep the hospital county-owned.
“They’ve been put on a predetermined path with a very fast track, and that track takes them away from being able to stop and think creatively and come up with these other solutions,” Graham says.
He believes solutions include collecting tax money from other counties that use NHRMC or affiliating with a not-for-profit like the Mayo Clinic.
“They’ve done this with over 40 hospitals around the world, one of which is in North Carolina,” says Graham. “That affiliation would give us the ultimate quality reach that would add a dimension that we will benefit from.”
The PAG is sending a request for proposal to the Mayo Clinic, but Graham believes it is too focused on a sale rather than a partnership.
“They’re going to receive it, but they won’t respond to it in all probability because they aren’t interested in buying out hospital,” he says. “This is all about buying and selling.”
Several elected officials attended the meeting, including North Carolina State Senator Harper Peterson and County Commissioner Rob Zapple, who was accused by Commission Chair Julia Boseman earlier in the day of spreading false information to the public in regards to the potential sale.
“I don’t lie, and I don’t spread false rumors at all,” Zapple says. “I’m sorry, I think it was an outburst that happened at the commissioners’ meeting.”
For more information on the process of the hospital sale up to this point, click here.
The PAG will meet again on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the New Hanover County Government Center.