NEW HANOVER COUNTY — N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein on Thursday cleared the way for Novant Health to purchase New Hanover Regional Medical Center, but the decision came only after the parties agreed on a variety of new conditions.
In an interview Thursday with Port City Daily, Stein said that during his three-month review of the sale, his office most often received questions surrounding the $1.2 billion endowment that is being formed with the bulk of the assets from the sale.
Novant, a private nonprofit health system based in Winston-Salem, is expected to take ownership of NHRMC on Feb. 1.
Here are some of the key changes in the purchase agreement.
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Its board is getting bigger
Original: The 11-member New Hanover Community Endowment board had no concrete requirements for representation.
Revised: The board will be expanded to 13 and the two additional seats will be for “Reserved Directors,” who must have experience working on the issues that the endowment will support — like public health, support to underserved populations, and promotion of racial equity and justice. The revised endowment agreement now notes “it shall take the interests of the community’s Latinx population into account.”
More public financial reports
Original: Public reports issued twice a year.
Revised: Quarterly financial reports that summarize its activities and grants required.
Community advisory committee
Original: The endowment’s bylaws included no reference or mention of the possibility of forming a community advisory committee.
Revised: Board must form a community advisory committee that is representative of a “reasonable cross-section of the community” that will provide feedback to the board in an advisory role. This committee must hold public meetings at least twice a year to garner input.
Health care commitments
Services and access
Original: Novant acknowledges that N.C. Attorney General can require it to comply with state laws regarding customer care.
Revised: Specific levels of required care and services laid out by the attorney general. Among the requirements: Novant must permanently continue at least a similar level of services in surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, outpatient care, and emergency treatment; must permanently provide at least the current level of charity care and provide essential medical services if a patient is unable to pay; may not discriminate against patients based on Medicaid/Medicare status.
Pender Memorial Hospital
Original: No specific language on ending NHRMC management contract with Pender Memorial Hospital (owned by Pender County).
Revised: Novant cannot let agreement with PMH expire without express approval from the new local board.
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