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Health Care

Members Of PAG, Save Our Hospital Meet

By Johanna Cano, posted Nov 22, 2019
Members of the Partnership Advisory Group, formed to participate in the process of weighing NHRMC's future ownership model, and the recently formed Save Our Hospital Inc., which opposes the idea of selling the hospital to an outside buyer, met Friday.

Save Our Hospital, a nonprofit founded by Gene Merritt, held a press conference Wednesday where it announced its official formation, and members expressed why they think the county-owned hospital should not form a partnership or be sold.

During the meeting Friday members of both groups discussed a variety of matters, including what each organization is looking to achieve, Merritt said in an email.

"Both parties agreed that we wanted an outcome that would be in the best interests of the people of Southeastern North Carolina," he said. "...We asked the PAG leadership to basically stop what they are doing and hire a totally independent consultant to consider all alternatives including a 'no sale' possibility."

Borth organizations also discussed the work of the Partnership Advisory Group (PAG) to examine all options to ensure the best future for health care in the community, Jessica Loeper, chief communications officer with the county, said in an email.

"The county, NHRMC and Partnership Advisory Group continue to welcome community input and dialogue about the future of the hospital system," she said.

Another item discussed Friday was the public record request the nonprofit has submitted to the hospital.

During its press conference Wednesday, members of Save Our Hospital said they had submitted a request for documents to NHRMC but had not yet heard back.

However, since the request was sent Nov. 15 via certified mail, the hospital had not received it as of Wednesday, during the time of the conference.

Save Our Hospital on Friday provided an electronic copy of the request to PAG co-chairs Barb Biehner and Spence Broadhurst.

The hospital will begin its process of providing documents and responding back with public information now that the request has been received, Loeper said.

New Hanover County has not been sent a public records request, she added.

Documents Save Our Hospital has asked for include the lease between NHRMC and the county; contracts between the hospital and any PR firms, consultants and legal counsel handling its intent to sell or related matters and NHRMC’s strategic plan, among other items.

The request was sent by Alex Hall, lawyer at Hall & Green Law and member of Save Our Hospital.

The PAG was formed to develop priorities, evaluate proposals and examine options for NHRMC after New Hanover County commissioners in September approved a resolution to receive proposals from possible buyers or management partners for the county-owned hospital.
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