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Novant reportedly sacks NHRMC President Shelbourn Stevens


Shelbourn Stevens had been with Novant Health for over three decades, much of that time spent leading the healthcare company's Brunswick Medical Center. He was named as New Hanover Regional Medical Center president after Novant purchased the hospital from the county.

Note: This is a developing story.

Five sources familiar with NHRMC operations told WHQR on background that Stevens had been fired on Thursday from his job leading NHRMC and Novant's Coastal Market.

A Novant Health spokesman confirmed Stevens' departure on Thursday evening, but did not specify under what terms he left the company.

"I can confirm Shelbourn Stevens is no longer with Novant Health and we appreciate his contributions to our organization over the years," the spokesperson said.

Stevens' compensation in 2021 was $775,642, according to a report on hospital executive compensation compiled by the office of State Treasurer Dale Folwell. That's less than his predecessor, former NHRMC president John Gizdic, now a Novant executive vice-president, who made $1,740,803 in 2021, or Novant Health CEO Carl Armato, who made $4,473,377 that year, according to Folwell's report.

The reason for Stevens' exit from Novant is unclear; Novant declined to provide additional comment.

During Stevens' tenure, NHRMC suffered from severe pandemic-related staffing shortages. Novant responded by utilizing traveling nurses — but their high wages took a chunk out of the company's bottom line and had a devastating impact on morale. When a 77-year-old patient died waiting for care last summer, a federal agency threatened to cut the hospital's Medicaid and Medicare contracts if conditions didn’t improve.

Novant has been able to improve conditions — escaping 'immediate jeopardy' with government regulators — and, by some reports, helped stabilize morale in part by pouring $65 million into its workforce.

According to Novant, "Jeff Lindsay will lead the region in the interim while we conduct the search for a replacement. Jeff is Novant Health’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. He has worked in healthcare for nearly 30 years and has been part of Novant Health since 1996."

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.