Survey: Most county commission candidates against selling NHRMC

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New Hanover Regional Medical Center. (Photo: WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Results from a recent survey sent out to candidates running for New Hanover County Commission are back. Save Our Hospital Inc. sent out a survey polling candidates on whether they would vote to sell or not sell New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

With early voting in the primary election starting Thursday, Save Our Hospital President Gene Merritt says he wants voters to be informed about the candidates and their stance on important issues.

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“Are you for the sale of the hospital, or are you against it, or are you undecided?” Merritt said.

Those were the three questions on the survey Merritt created.

“What we wanted to know was to try to get an understanding of the breadth and depth of the support or lack of support for the issue,” he said.

Merritt says the future of NHRMC is an issue that concerns a lot of people.

“We consider this a bit of a public service, as oppose to any sort of partisan issue in any way, shape or form,” he said.

The Board of Commissioners are the ones who will ultimately vote on a recommendation of what to do with the hospital.

A New Hanover County spokeswoman says the decision is not just sale or no sale, and that other partnerships are being explored. With that that being said, the survey shows 10 out of 15 candidates, running for three contested seats, against selling the hospital.

“We believe that the goal of the current county commissioners is to make a deal this year, and not have to leave it up to the next county commission,” Merritt said. “On the other hand, quite frankly, we would rather see the latter take place.”

That county spokeswoman says there is no defined timeline for when a recommendation may go to the board. Whether the current board or a new board makes the decision, Merritt say he wants voters to be informed.

“These are the people that will make the decision in the final analysis. the county commissioners are the entity that will make the decision as to whether to sell or not sell the hospital,” he said.

Merritt says two of those candidates responded that they were undecided, and three did not respond at all.

That county spokeswoman says the NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group is still a month away from receiving proposals for any form of partnership.