Novant Health, UNC Health and the UNC School of Medicine signed an agreement Thursday for their proposed clinical and research affiliation that will move forward if New Hanover Regional Medical Center opts to partner or merge with Novant.
Wilmington, N.C.-based New Hanover Regional put out a request for proposal last year, seeking a health system partner with access to capital and additional resources. The potential partners or acquirers have been narrowed to Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant, Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C. and Durham, N.C.-based Duke Health.
If the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners chooses Novant, pending a July vote, Novant and UNC will expand the Wilmington branch of the UNC School of Medicine, boost faculty development, expand its pipeline for students who want to work in rural North Carolina and establish a new UNC Health Sciences campus, executives said. They also pledged to develop a pediatric clinical partnership with UNC Children's at Novant-affiliated sites in the New Hanover area, create outreach clinics and telehealth services from Chapel Hill, as well as develop research, clinical trials and population health studies programs focused on issues like opioid addiction and health equity.
New Hanover Regional has worked with UNC for the last 40 years. Novant, which previously signed a letter of intent to partner with UNC, pledged to expand that relationship if it acquires or affiliates with New Hanover Regional, said Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health.
"COVID-19 shows how all institutions have to work together to find ways to best serve patients during this pandemic," said Armato, adding that Novant has been able to stay a step ahead of COVID-19 with its predictive data modeling.
Novant's data analysis has helped the integrated health system allocate resources and direct care, said Dr. Pam Oliver, president of the Novant Health Physician Network.
"Scale does matter in gathering the appropriate data," she said.