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Thursday, May 30, 2024

NHRMC president Shelbourn Stevens no longer with Novant

A spokesperson for Novant confirmed Shelbourn Stevens (far right) is no longer holding the position as president of NHRMC or of Novant Health’s Coastal Market. (Port City Daily/Amy Passaretti Willis)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Novant New Hanover Regional Medical Center lost its top leader as of Thursday, June 29.

READ MORE: Novant was frontrunner for Pender hospital sale, no other providers considered

A spokesperson for the company confirmed NHRMC President Shelbourn Stevens is no longer holding the position.

“We appreciate his contributions to our organization over the years,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to Port City Daily. 

No confirmation was made as to whether Stevens was let go. PCD’s media partner WHQR is reporting he was fired, according to sources.

Stevens oversaw the hospital and was also the president of Novant Health’s Coastal Market, which includes Brunswick and Pender medical centers. Having started as a respiratory aide with the healthcare provider in 1990, Stevens held numerous leadership roles within the healthcare system.

He oversaw Brunswick Health and helped guide its transition from the original Brunswick Community Hospital to a new facility in 2011.

In April 2021, Stevens was hired as president of NHRMC and the coastal market to help with the transition of Novant taking over the county-owned hospital. The Winston-Salem healthcare provider purchased New Hanover Regional Medical Center from the county for $1.5 billion.

Just last week, the Novant NHRMC president joined Pender County commissioners during a press conference regarding another purchase Novant will make: buying Pender Medical Center for an undisclosed amount.

Stevens told media the decision to sell the Pender hospital was a collective agreement between the county and healthcare provider, which came to be “during conversations over the last year or so.”

Novant made a $50 million commitment, outside of Pender’s purchase price, to funnel into the rural county’s healthcare needs. The medical center — run by president and COO Ruth Glaser — has been overseen by Novant since it purchased New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

In the last few years, NHRMC — which serves a seven-county region — has endured hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nurses left citing burnout and low morale. Novant NHRMC faced staffing issues last year, relying on travel nurses, and at one point had unsafe nursing-to-patient ratios.

“The staffing issues have been resolved,” a certificate of need application stated in March, as Novant applied to expand the Women and Children’s Tower at NHRMC. “As of February 1, 2023, [NHRMC] has all the nursing staff it requires and has experienced no recent bed closures due to staffing issues.”

CATCH UP: NHRMC’s $55M expansion aimed at alleviating ED, Novant claims staffing issues ‘resolved’

Nine months earlier, the hospital was placed under immediate jeopardy from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after someone coded in the ER but has since been found in compliance.

ALSO: Fed report confirms Novant’s insufficient staffing, nurses detail to PCD problem extends beyond ER

Stevens’ exit comes after Novant had a system-wide reduction earlier in the year, laying off less than 50 people from its 35,000-plus employees, as confirmed to PCD in January. A spokesperson cited “lingering effects of the pandemic and its impact on the costs of providing care” as a reason.

NHRMC’s chief community impact officer, Dr. Phillip Brown — who served as chief executive physician and chief of staff before Novant bought the hospital — was let go at that time.

A Novant spokesperson confirmed Stevens’ departure is not part of another reduction.

Jeff Lindsay, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will step in during the interim to fulfill Stevens’ former role. Lindsay has worked for Novant since 1996.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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