Judge Denies Opposition Group’s Request to Delay Vote on Proposed NHRMC Partnership

A Superior Court judge has denied a motion calling for a temporary restraining order to keep the Board of New Hanover County Commissioners from entering into the proposed partnership between New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Novant Health and UNC School of Medicine.

The motion for a temporary restraining order was filed on Tuesday by a group that formed more than a year ago to oppose any consideration of a partnership. Judge Phyllis Gorham heard arguments in court on Wednesday and announced her decision on Friday.

The plaintiff argued that the latest public records request should be filled before the Commissioners vote. It was the group’s fourth formal request for records since the partnership exploration began. Other requests have been fulfilled according to state public records law, but the opposition group’s most recent request was for an exceptionally large number of documents and emails that will take time to produce.

The court ruled that the Plaintiff had failed to meet its burden of showing a likelihood of success in the case and that enjoining the sale of the hospital was not a proper remedy based on allegations of a failure to provide public records.

“We appreciate the judge’s decision. This is further evidence of how transparent we have been through this entire process. We are committed to being as open as possible and providing information requested according to state statutes,” said John Gizdic, President and CEO of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “In the meantime, we will continue to engage with our community and share information about all this partnership can do to improve the health of our region. We know that the large majority of our community now see the tremendous benefits it will bring.”

This past week, Novant Health released a survey conducted by SurveyUSA which shows 64% of those surveyed agree a partnership is needed to meet the area’s growing healthcare needs and 72% feel the partnership will have a positive impact on the community. In addition to a commitment from Novant Health to invest nearly $3 billion to grow services in the region, local residents will benefit from more than $1.5 billion in proceeds going to New Hanover County.

Information on that survey as well as a documents, presentations and minutes from each of the Partnership Advisory Group meetings are available online at www.nhrmcfuture.org.