Pender Commissioners discuss hospital’s future
PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – Pender Medical Center formally called Pender Memorial Hospital is now operated by Novant Health.
County commissioners have been discussing the hospital’s future and whether Novant should be allowed to renew its contract next year.
Pender County’s agreement with Novant Health to operate Pender Medical Center is up for renewal in less than a year.
According to Commissioner George Brown , the majority of the board is in favor of exploring options.
“I have been in favor of staying in the region if at all possible, which was New Hanover, now Novant,” he said.
The goal now is to find an unaffiliated party to advise the commissioners on the best route to go.
“The majority of the board decided to look for a third entity or consultant to help them search, to help them make a decision who to go with,” said Brown.
Shelby Anderson grew up in Burgaw, she said whatever is best for the community should be the deciding factor.
“I say if it is better for the hospital, then I’m all for it,” she said. “If it’s not, then I say leave it.”
However, according to Anderson, once commissioners make their decision they need to stick with it.
“All this new, coming in and changing names, you know, it gets a little hectic sometimes,” she said.
William Walker remembers when Novant Health took over the hospital.
“I’m comfortable with it,” he said. “I think it should stay the same.”
WWAY spoke with a Novant Health employee, who wanted to remain anonymous in fear of losing her job, that employee worked for both health providers.
The current employee said a new entity to run the hospital may be a nice change.
For now, the commission has until June of 2023 to decide who runs the hospital in the future.
“I would think that the commissioners going down this path, they want something, as soon as possible, so they have all of this wrapped up before the contract expires next year,” he said.
According to Brown, the board is delving into the unknown.
“This is somewhat new to us,” he said. “The commissioners that voted for this are hoping to find someone that can help them, and be prepared when the contract comes to an end next year.”
According to Brown, the commission will get public input before making a final decision.
WWAY will continue to follow this story, and let our viewers know when commissioners plan to hold a public hearing about the hospital’s future.