UNC, Vidant settle dispute over hospital board shuffle

The University of North Carolina and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C., have resolved a months-long lawsuit over who should serve on Vidant's board, according to The News & Observer.

Vidant Medical Center is owned by Pitt County, but UNC has operated the facility since 1975. Under that operating agreement, Vidant Medical Center agreed to serve as the primary teaching hospital for East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, and UNC agreed not to build a teaching hospital that would compete with it.

Under an affiliation agreement, most recently renewed in 2013, Pitt County appointed 11 members to Vidant Medical Center's board of trustees, and UNC appointed the other nine. However, that changed in April when Pitt County commissioners approved eliminating UNC's board appointments and giving them to Vidant.

UNC and ECU sued Vidant and Pitt County over the change on May 20. The complaint alleged that changing the makeup of the hospital board violated the affiliation agreement.

Under the agreement reached by the parties, the dean of ECU's Brody School of Medicine and the ECU chancellor will fill two seats on the board. A Vidant board of trustees nominating committee will nominate seven other seats, which will then be approved by the UNC board of governors. Pitt County leaders will appoint the other 11 board members, according to the report.

"We are pleased that the structural alignment decisions have been completed, so we can focus on our shared mission of becoming a national model for rural health and wellness," Mark Stacy, MD, vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the Brody School of Medicine, said in a statement to The News & Observer.

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