RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Thursday that he does not object to Novant’s purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center based on a thorough review of the proposed agreement and certain new negotiated conditions.
As a result of negotiations with the Attorney General’s Office, the parties have agreed to increase the new endowment’s transparency, its accountability to the public, and the representativeness and independence of its board of directors.
These changes were shaped by a thorough review of transaction documents and valuable insight from community leaders. Because of these negotiated improvements, because the transaction satisfies the requirements established by state law, and because the sales price was fair, Attorney General Stein will not take action to seek to block the deal.
More information about these commitments is available here.
“As this pandemic has shown us, few issues are as important to our daily lives as health care,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “My attorneys and I kept that fact in mind as we reviewed this transaction. I am pleased to announce that our negotiations have resulted in stronger health care protections for the community and a more representative, more transparent, and more accountable endowment. Therefore, I will not be objecting to the transaction.”
“That said, community hospitals are being purchased and merged into large health care systems all across our state. I have real concerns about what this means for the future of health care in North Carolina. Right now, my office has limited authority when conducting reviews of this nature. Under today’s state laws, we review transactions to ensure that the minimum requirements of state law are met; state law does not grant my office a discretionary approval right. I look forward to working with leaders in the legislature to determine whether or not North Carolinians would be better served by a more comprehensive system of review that could scrutinize further conglomeration of health care systems.”
State law provides that when a county sells a hospital, six essential protections must be maintained for the benefit of customers in the future. Under statute, the Attorney General also has the right to review any transaction in which a nonprofit corporation sells substantially all of its assets. Additionally, the Attorney General is charged with enforcing the state’s antitrust laws. The Attorney General has carried out these responsibilities for the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
A copy of the non objection letter is available here.