NHC Commissioners Vote To Allow PAG To Dig Deeper Into Three Healthcare System Proposals

May 18, 2020

This Morning New Hanover County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Partnership Advisory Group’s recommendation to focus on three potential partners for New Hanover Regional Medical Center: Atrium Health, Duke Health and Novant Health.  The vote came after some spirited debate. 

The vote was unanimous, but not before some pointed comments about the possible politicizing of the medical center decision. Commissioners Rob Zapple, Woody White, and Jonathan Barfield all traded remarks on the nature of the decision.  Woody White.

“And people running for public office that are suggesting that access to care is going to be strangled or lowered. That cost of care is going to go up. They're demagoguing this issue and it's shameful. They shouldn't do it.”

Commissioner Barfield is one of those running for re-election this year. He dialed into the meeting remotely. 

“I’m trying to find the right words to say here. I am one of those folks that are running for office this year, but these are decisions I have made, based on what I think is best for this community. Politics aside.”

Moving forward the PAG will now focus its efforts on Atrium Health, Duke Health and Novant Health. However the vote does not eliminate the other three: HealthSpan-Bon Secours, HCA Healthcare and UNC Health.

A public hearing has been scheduled for June 22 to receive comments on all six proposals.

Vince Winkel, WHQR News.