WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The saga over the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center continues as the Partnership Advisory Group met for the 10th and final time Thursday night before closed door sessions begin.
At the meeting, the group denounced recent criticism from local advocacy group Save Our Hospital that claimed the process of possibly selling the hospital has not been transparent enough.
“There’s probably not been a process like this in North Carolina, maybe in the United States that’s been as transparent as this one,” said PAG Co-Chair Spence Broadhurst. “We’re committed to being as transparent as we can legally be.”
The group also focused on three main topics during its final meeting before proposals from interested parties arrive.
“We finished up a summary of our financial opportunities, staying independent, looking for partners, those kinds of things,” said Broadhurst.
According to the long-term financial plan, prepared by consultant firm Ponder, one way to provide the hospital with necessary funds while also remaining independent would be to raise property taxes as much as 68 percent.
“That just tells us what the possibilities could be if we don’t make some good smart decisions,” Broadhurst said.
The group then discussed the different range of options, including remaining independent, restructuring hospital governance with or without a partner and an outright sale.
“If we have this structure, then here are the opportunities, if we have this structure, here are the opportunities, and there’s always give and take in it,” Broadhurst said.
Finally, the group went over 18 key elements they want to see in proposals from nine different organizations likely to respond. They include Atrium Health, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Duke Health, HCA Healthcare, LifePoint Health, Novant Health, Optum, UNC Health Care, and Trinity Health.
Proposals are due back by March 16. They will be made public by the end of the month with confidential information redacted.
“Any conversation we have during the next couple of meetings is going to have to be in closed session to protect the proprietary information of the respondents,” said Broadhurst.
There will be a public hearing on the hospital’s future at the Historic New Hanover County Courthouse on April 13 at 6 p.m.
For the full presentation from tonight’s meeting, click here.