It’s a new day for health care on the North Carolina coast, as New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) joins Novant Health. Both health systems will benefit in several ways that cares for and keeps our communities healthy.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center
New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Following the North Carolina Attorney General’s approval, Novant Health, based in Winston-Salem, and NHRMC in Wilmington officially began their partnership on February 1, 2021. Novant Health looks to build on NHRMC’s success as a provider of high-quality, patient-centered health care enhancing and expanding access to care close to home in southeastern North Carolina.

Both organizations have a common heritage rooted in service to North Carolinians, maintain a deep commitment to improving the health of the communities in which they serve, and share a similar set of values.

Here are five key ways the partnership will benefit patients.

1. NHRMC has a large footprint

With 700 beds on its main campus, NHRMC is now the second biggest hospital in the Novant Health system. It also serves a total of seven counties – New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Pender, Duplin and Onslow – making it the primary location for emergency and specialized services for people in rural communities.

The hospital is the leading provider in the region for specialized cardiac care, including neurosurgery, oncology, orthopedics, minimally invasive surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric critical care, trauma care, graduate medical education, renal care, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, as well as behavioral health.

2. Partnership with UNC Health, UNC School of Medicine

Novant Health, University of North Carolina Health and the UNC School of Medicine have reached an agreement to broaden medical education, research and clinical services by developing a long-term academic and clinical affiliation in the New Hanover region. This expanded partnership will attract physicians and create a pipeline of superior health professionals to serve the region into the future.

This affiliation will achieve three primary goals in New Hanover County:

  • Enhance and expand the Wilmington branch campus of the School of Medicine.
  • Enhance research and clinical trials.
  • Enhance local pediatric care.

The partnership with UNC also resulted in a systemwide expansion for the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health. This begins with locating a UNC School of Medicine branch campus at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, which will serve as an important training site for medical students.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center
New Hanover Regional Medical Center

3. Helping families below the federal poverty level

Novant Health is expanding NHRMC’s charity care policy so that uninsured patients with an annual family income less than or equal to 300% of the federal poverty level will not get a bill. For example, if you are a family of four, and your income is at or below $78,600 and have no health insurance, when you come to NHRMC, your medical bills will be taken care. At New Hanover, the charity care policy is a sliding scale from 200% to 300%. With the 300% poverty level, patients can have a higher income and still get high-quality care.

4. Award-winning women’s and children’s care

NHRMC’s Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital is recognized by Newsweek as a Best Maternity Care Hospital. This 195,000-square-foot facility offers expert women’s and children’s care, including obstetrical care for both routine and high-risk deliveries. It is also the state’s only all-private-room neonatal intensive care unit that cares for premature and critically ill babies.

5. Combating the opioid epidemic

This partnership will benefit Novant Health’s effort to combat opioid misuse and dependency. Novant Health will alleviate the opioid epidemic in its communities by safely and appropriately prescribing opioids for pain management while also optimizing alternative therapies. An opioid crisis steering committee is also developing patient education tools, educating clinical team members on optimal care for substance use disorder and supporting the expansion of recovery support services.

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