Partnership Advisory Group Approves Goals and Objectives; Begins Discussion of Request for Proposals and Invites Public to Share Ideas

The New Hanover Regional Medical Center Partnership Advisory Group has approved a set of goals and objectives that will serve as the basis for exploring whether a strategic partner could help NHRMC advance healthcare and wellness in the region. At their meeting December 19 the group also went through the questions in the Request for Proposals (RFP) and expressed a desire to hear from area residents.

The committee of 21 area citizens has been given the responsibility of exploring options for NHRMC that could include a restructuring and/or a range of partnership models to help NHRMC meet the needs of the area’s rapidly growing population and adapt to changes in the healthcare industry.

Dr. Michael Papagikos introduced a discussion on ensuring the public has an opportunity to review the draft RFP and provide their comments.

Pastor Robert Campbell supported the sentiment and spoke to the group’s commitment to being open to sharing information and ideas with the community. “I think the PAG has done a phenomenal job about being transparent,” he said. “Let’s solicit input and consider what they provide.”

The approved Goals and Objectives as well as the draft RFP are available on the www.nhrmcfuture.org website. (These documents are listed with the December 19 meeting). Members of the community can review them and email members of the Partnership Advisory Group with feedback using the email PAGcomments@nhcgov.com.

The goals and objectives, which have been endorsed by the NHRMC Board of Trustees, tie to the mission, values and strategic plan of NHRMC as well as the corresponding public health mission and strategic planning of New Hanover County.  They establish a framework that can be used to evaluate proposals from other health systems. Those goals include:

  • Improving Access to Care and Wellness – Add to the number and range of care options in the region so everyone can get more timely and convenient care to better manage their health.
  • Advancing the Value of Care – Improve the quality of care while lowering costs through systems to improve efficiency, safety, and coordination across care providers.
  • Achieving Health Equity – Eliminate the demographic disparities in healthcare outcomes by targeting the root causes of poor health and partnering with others in the community to develop and support innovative programs.
  • Engaging Staff – Ensure the culture of the organization is continued and strengthened, with a focus on developing and engaging staff and supporting them with job security, competitive pay and excellent benefits.
  • Partnering with Providers – Support the growth of the medical staff through recruitment, medical education, employed and independent provider engagement initiatives, and clinical research.
  • Driving quality of care throughout the continuum – Provide consistent high-quality care and coordination through every step of a patient’s care.
  • Improving the level and scope of care – Protect and strengthen the services available to area residents and bring new and innovative technologies and programs to the region.
  • Investing to ensure long-term financial security – Gain access to capital and resources to sustain growth and allow NHRMC to meet the needs of the region while withstanding cuts to reimbursements and adapting to changes in the healthcare industry.
  • Strategic positioning – Develop NHRMC’s position by maintaining and expanding partnerships with other healthcare providers in the region and adding new services that can enhance the area’s economic development and grow the local employment base.
  • Governance – Establish the most effective form of governance to preserve and advance local interests, maintaining local control and decision-making for hospital-based provider contracts, joint ventures and other physician contracts and agreements.

Questions for the RFP were drafted for each set of goals. Respondents will be asked to describe how their proposed strategic partnership will impact or advance these goals so the community can weigh the benefits and risks of each proposed option. Advisory Group members, NHRMC’s Board of Trustees, and the Physician Advisory Committee of the NHRMC Medical Staff have been involved in the review and discussion of the RFP. Comments from the December 19 meeting and additional feedback in the coming weeks will be incorporated and brought back to the group for discussion and possible vote at the next meeting of the Partnership Advisory Group on January 9.

When the Advisory Group approves the RFP, it will be sent to any organization that has asked for it, as is required by state law. The Partnership Advisory Group will also be able to choose organizations to reach out to and inquire whether they would like to receive the RFP.  At least five organizations must receive the RFP, per state statute. The RFP will also be shared on the nhrmcfuture.org website.  Once shared, organizations will have 60 days to respond.

While the RFP is out, Advisory Group members will devote time to examining options for NHRMC continuing status quo or completing an internal corporate restructuring and remaining a stand-alone county-owned public hospital.

At their meeting December 19, the Advisory Group also chose a financial advisor to provide an independent analysis of NHRMC financial projections, offer their perspective of the financial impact of health industry changes, and evaluate any proposed financial relationship with another organization. The Advisory Group chose Ponder and Company to do this work.

The Partnership Advisory Group was established following the New Hanover County Commissioners’ September 16th approval of a resolution to begin a research phase to understand what options exist for NHRMC’s future.