NEW HANOVER COUNTY — One hundred days have passed since New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Novant Health formally merged.
New Hanover County Commissioners approved selling the county-owned NHRMC to Novant Health in October 2020. In mid-January, Attorney General Josh Stein signed off on the deal.
Since the Feb. 1 sale, NHRMC has integrated many of its policies in line with Novant as the two systems continue to integrate.
In a press release, NHRMC outlined several changes to date. The Wilmington hospital welcomed 16 UNC School of Medicine students — the largest group since NHRMC became a branch campus — for physician training.
Novant spent $3 million to bring approximately 1,100 NHRMC employees up to $15 an hour, in line with its minimum wage policy.
NHRMC also upped its extension of 100% financial assistance from patients earning 200% of the federal poverty level to 300%. With the extended offering, an uninsured family of four earning $78,600 or less would not pay any medical bills.
At the same time, NHRMC dropped its prompt pay discount policy, which offered patients a 25% discount on their total bills if they paid the sum in full within 30 days.
The systems recently launched the Coastal Region Community Engagement Advisory Council, “an inclusive group of community leaders and residents” in the tri-county area, according to NHRMC’s release. They also committed $15,000 to bring a farmer’s market to Wilmington’s Northside.
Plans are in the works for other projects, including building two medical clinics in New Hanover County, thanks to a $10 million donation to Novant from Michael Jordan, who grew up in Wilmington. Designed to serve uninsured and under-insured patients, the two clinics are expected to be completed by early 2022.
Next month, the systems will implement the software platform Viz.ai, which uses artificial intelligence “to synchronize stroke care and reduce delays that can stand between patients and life-saving treatments.”
“Novant Health is already proving to be the strong partner we envisioned for New Hanover Regional Medical Center,” John Gizdic, former NHRMC CEO and current Novant Health executive vice president and chief business development officer, said in the release. “We are all committed to fulfilling our promise to improve care for all and we are well on our way to achieving our vision.”
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