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NHC Commissioners Look To Vote Oct. 5 On Hospital Sale

By Vicky Janowski, posted Sep 25, 2020
Update: This story has been updated with a judge's ruling on a request for a temporary restraining order to delay the vote.

New Hanover County Commissioners are slated to vote Oct. 5 on a deal to sell New Hanover Regional Medical Center as well as how roughly $1.5 billion in sale proceeds to the county would be handled, officials announced Friday.

Also on Friday, a Superior Court Judge denied a motion from the Save Our Hospital group for a temporary restraining order to delay the sale of the hospital.
 
The commissioners are scheduled to consider and vote on several items surrounding the proposed agreement with Winston-Salem-based Novant Health for the county-owned hospital, according to a news release Friday. The vote would be at the commissioners’ regular meeting, which starts at 4 p.m. and takes place at the county’s historic courthouse downtown. The meeting also will be streamed online and shown on the county’s cable television stations (details below).
 
The commissioners, according to Friday’s release, are looking to consider and vote on:
  • "Asset Purchase Agreement between New Hanover County, New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) and Novant Health
  • Use of net proceeds (which is included in the Asset Purchase Agreement as 'Exhibit C' and referred to previously as “Exhibit D” in the approved Letter of Intent)
  • Bylaws for a community endowment (the bylaws are still under review and being updated, based on Commissioner input from their September 21 board meeting)
  • The termination of the lease between the county and NHRMC (if the Asset Purchase Agreement is approved, the current lease agreement between New Hanover County and NHRMC would terminate at closing, because properties and facilities being leased would be sold by the county – making the lease no longer relevant).”
Click here for a list of those documents to download.

NHRMC trustees also are expected to vote on the deal Thursday.

When commissioners in July approved a letter of intent with Novant, kicking off negotiations that led to the final agreement, they said then the vote would need to be no later than Oct. 19. Oct. 5 and Oct. 19 are the two regular board of commissioners meetings next month. That letter of intent is set to expire at the end of October.
 
The state law governing the hospital sale process requires public notice of at least 10 days before a vote and that the proposed contract be available for people to see.
 
A week ago, county and hospital officials released documents about the agreement.
 
A public hearing, which is not required by the state law, is scheduled for Monday.
 
On Friday, Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham denied Save Our Hospital’s request this week for a 10-day temporary restraining order. The group filed a lawsuit this week against the county, hospital and county board of commissioners, arguing that they have not received public records surrounding the discussions to sell the hospital and to negotiate with Novant.
 
Attorneys representing the county and hospital argued in a hearing before Gorham on Wednesday that the requests have or are being filled as allowed under state law and called the move an eleventh-hour delay tactic.
 
“We are pleased that Save our Hospital’s motion has been denied by the court," New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman said a statement after the ruling. "This reinforces the county and hospital’s position that we have been transparent and open throughout this process – with Save our Hospital, its representatives, and the entire community.”

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Public hearing
Monday, Sept. 28, 5 p.m.
New Hanover County Historic Courthouse, 24 N. Third St., in Room 301
The community can attend and share public comments (limited to 3 minutes per person), with social distancing guidelines followed. In addition, those who prefer not to attend in person can submit a public comment by emailing [email protected]. Emailed comments must be submitted by 6 p.m. on Sept. 27 to be made available to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners before the public hearing.
 
Partnership Advisory Group
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 5:30 p.m.
UNCW’s Burney Center
The Partnership Advisory Group, a 21-member group formed in October to navigate the process of exploring a partnership or sale of the hospital, holds its final meeting. The group will vote and make a final recommendation about agreement that then goes to the NHRMC Board of Trustees and New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. The public can attend the meeting, with social distancing and face coverings. It also will be shown over this public Zoom link.

NHRMC Trustees Vote

Thursday, Oct. 1, 5 p.m.
SEAHEC Classroom (limited to 25 people, so largely virtual meeting)
Call in:  (910) 386-0001 and access code: 28428
 
NHC Commissioners Vote
Monday, Oct. 5, 4 p.m.
New Hanover County Historic Courthouse, 24 N. Third St., in Room 301
The public can attend the meeting, but capacity will be limited due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines will be followed. The meeting will be available to view live on NHCTV.com and NHCTV’s cable stations: Spectrum Channel 13 and Charter Channel 5.
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