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Officials consider new provider for North Carolina hospital

Burgaw, N.C.-based Novant Health Pender Medical Center's operating agreement with Pender County expires in 2023, and county commissioners are exploring all options before renewing the contract, according to a Sept. 6 report from Port City Daily.

The board plans to vote on Sept. 6 regarding non-profit consulting firm Juniper Advisory leading the search. If the measure is approved, Juniper Advisory will act as project director to establish criteria, identify entities, review proposals, and present recommendations to the board. If Juniper Advisory is approved as project director, it will have until April 1, 2023, to review potential bidders. 

Novant Health purchased the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in 2021, which includes operations of the former Pender Memorial Hospital. However, the county has moved toward seeking alternative healthcare providers. 

County Commissioner Jackie Newton confirmed that the board met with Novant officials earlier this year to discuss preliminary restructuring plans. 

"While in some ways impressive, those plans as presented may well be insufficient for our current and future needs," Ms. Newton told Port City Daily.

A Novant spokesperson said that the discussions included a recommended alternative to the agreement but did not provide details. 

"Since taking over the operating contract, Novant has demonstrated a commitment to continuing New Hanover’s legacy of improving care in the communities we serve," the spokesperson said.

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