Organization still thinks NHRMC is being secretive about possible sale

DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON (WWAY) — Staying with New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the fight to keep it continues.

Wednesday afternoon, the group, Save Our Hospital raised more concerns about a possible sale. They say the partnership advisory group is not transparent enough.

Save Our Hospital members questioned whether the Partnership Advisory Group or PAG is really about transparency and understanding, or a smokescreen.

“What is the driving force behind this? If something is not broken, don’t fix it,” said Resident Herbert Harris.

The group members says PAG should know more information. President Gene Merritt says he does not think the hospital has been transparent enough about its strategic plan.

“The concept of the PAG according to the CEO of the hospital was four or five internal people in the hospital who reviews are at peace only after we and the whole public started kicking back, did they create the expanded PAG to at least give the impression that this was going to be an open and communicated process. All we’re saying, is okay let it be an open and communicated process,” Merritt said.

Harris says it seems as if hospital leaders are rushing through the process.

“This hospital really serves in 6 or 7 counties, and it seems that a handful of people are driving this with very little input from the community, from the citizens who will be impacted by it. As a result, our recommendation to stop. Just slow down,” Harris said.

Merritt says he wants leaders to focus more on developing relationships rather than selling the hospital or partnering with other businesses.

“We have said from day 1, mergers and acquisitions, donated historically around the U.S. create higher prices and lower quality of service. That’s one of our concerns,” Merritt expressed.

Save our hospital is creating its own plan to present at their next meeting and the PAG.

PAG’s next meeting is March 5 at 5:30 p.m., located at the New Hanover County Government Center.

NHRMC issued the following response to the news conference:

The NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group has been discussing the strategic plan since their first meeting in October. Details of plan initiatives, progress within them, and where additional support could accelerate efforts have been part of every meeting and formed the basis for the goals and objectives approved by the Advisory Group at their December 19 meeting.

(These presentations are all online. Also, reference Partnership Advisory Group Approves Goals and Objectives; Begins Discussion of Request for Proposals and Invites Public to Share Ideas)

Goals include advancing the value, scope and quality of care while making it more accessible and equitable for all those NHRMC serves.  There are also goals around engaging staff, partnering with providers, and ensuring the long-term strength of the system through financial security and effective governance.The strategic plan was developed by NHRMC staff, providers and members of the NHRMC Board of Trustees a few years ago and represents the group’s projection of the best course of action to fulfill NHRMC’s mission to meet the healthcare needs of the region.

NHRMC teams are moving forward with all aspects of the strategic plan, regardless of the outcome of the partnership exploration. The timing and success of the initiatives will be impacted by whether support and flexibility can be gained from one or more partnerships and potentially restructuring.The Advisory Group can recommend any number of options and levels of support. We expect there to be a range of options that could help advance local healthcare and meet the needs of our growing community while retaining local control and ownership.

The NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group, the NHRMC Board of Trustees and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will be considering public input, what’s possible, and what’s in the best interests of our region as the evaluation moves forward.

We encourage everyone to stay engaged and informed. There will be a public hearing after the responses come back and members of the public can share their opinions through the email address that goes to Advisory Group members at

Categories: Community, Local, New Hanover