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Novant Health wins bid for New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health was selected as the new partner for New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C. 

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted July 13 to give Novant Health the green light to sign a letter of intent to partner with, manage or own the county-run hospital. The decision ends a nine-month process of searching for a suitor for the medical center. 

Novant Health was one of three health systems competing to expand their footprint in North Carolina by securing a deal to partner with or own New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., and Duke Health in Durham, N.C, were the other systems in the running. 

On July 2, an advisory group formed to consider bids for the medical center voted unanimously to recommend Novant Health. The medical center's board approved the recommendation July 8. 

"We are honored that the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, along with the [Partnership Advisory Group] and New Hanover Regional Medical Center board of trustees, selected Novant Health to be the future partner of New Hanover Regional Medical Center," said Carl S. Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health.

In its initial proposal, Novant Health committed to investing more than $5 billion into the medical center. The commitment included up to $2 billion in upfront cash to New Hanover County and $3.1 billion for capital projects. Novant said the financial commitment to the New Hanover hospital will ensure support for "information technology and quality initiatives, improvements to existing facilities, new construction and other strategic capital."

Novant said in its proposal that it is willing to pursue an affiliation, joint venture or acquisition of the medical center and that it would have a representative on its board if a joint venture is formed, or two members if Novant becomes its parent company.

Novant also said that any partnership pursued will not negatively affect employment levels, and no employment changes would be made without approval from the medical center. The system also committed to increasing the number of jobs in the county by establishing a new shared services center and basing a corporate department in Wilmington. 

In addition to the financial commitment, Novant said it will partner with Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health and its medical school to expand the medical education program at the medical center, including enhancing the long-standing pediatric program.

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