On November 9, the board of directors at Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina, made the unanimous decision to take the next step in their exclusive negotiations with the UNC Health Care System. Close to 75 miles northwest of Charlotte, the 110-bed acute care hospital employs a network of about 50 primary and specialty care physicians as well as advance practice professionals.
“UNC Health Care is the right partner to bring our hospital forward for generations to come,” Laura Easton, chief executive officer of Caldwell Memorial Hospital, told a UNC Health Care reporter. “We’re joining a strong and growing system whose influence is felt throughout the state, and whose clinical services offer unquestioned quality. Caldwell has enjoyed remarkable growth and success over the years, but looking forward, the reality is that it will be harder than ever for independent community hospitals like ours to thrive while going at it alone.”
Caldwell Memorial Hospital
Image courtesy of Caldwell Memorial Hospital
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, Caldwell Memorial Hospital has been bearing in mind the ways in which it can fortify its position in its market for a number of months. The hospital bade UNC Health Care to draw up a proposal because of UNC’s excellent management resources, great track record in improving community hospitals, top notch experience building healthy physician relationships and demonstrated ability to connect patients to sub-specialized care.
“We have explored solutions for our community that will advance local healthcare, build upon our legacy of service in Caldwell County and preserve our mission of providing high-quality, cost-effective care,” said chair of the Caldwell Memorial Hospital Board of Directors Boyd Wilson. “After evaluating numerous options, it became clear that UNC Health Care will share and protect our vision to grow and strengthen our hospital for the long term.”
According to the terms of the new agreement, UNC Health Care will:
- Become the only member organization of Caldwell Memorial Hospital and give at least $35 million for capital improvements to Caldwell Memorial over the next five years;
- Uphold the current management of Caldwell Memorial Hospital by providing for local representation on the Board of Directors;
- Preserve the employment status, compensation and benefit plans of Caldwell Memorial Hospital’s employees for at least one year;
- Sustain Caldwell Memorial Hospital as a private, non-profit organization and an acute care hospital; and
- Give at least $4 million to the Caldwell Memorial Hospital Foundation.
UNC-Chapel Hill Campus
Image courtesy of The Daily Caller
NewsObserver reports that in addition to these agreements, UNC Health Care will provide management resources that can assist Caldwell Memorial Hospital in navigating healthcare reforms and complex reimbursement systems. Prior to the agreement, Caldwell Memorial Hospital was also concerned about its long-term ability to attract and hold onto physicians. UNC’s network and the opportunity to host residents from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine will address that problem. Surely, the partnership between Caldwell Memorial Hospital and the UNC Healthcare System will greatly benefit both organizations and the people involved.
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