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Hospital finds partner
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Hospital finds partner
Wilson Medical, Duke seek to form joint venture




Wilson Medical Center has found a partner — pending multiple reviews — with Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

The hospital’s board of directors on Tuesday announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture with Duke LifePoint Healthcare, which is under Duke University Health System Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals.

The process that formally began in 2012 in response to national health reform and the changing health care landscape really came together on Tuesday as officials worked out last-minute details.

Under the terms of the proposed partnership, Wilson Medical Center and Duke LifePoint would share ownership and governance of the hospital with Duke LifePoint securing majority ownership interest, hospital officials announced.

Other terms weren’t initially disclosed and more details are expected to emerge later.

The memorandum is considered the first step in the process of Wilson’s hospital joining the Duke LifePoint network of hospitals, officials said following their Tuesday board meeting.

Hospital officials pointed to potential benefits, including access to LifePoint’s capital and operational resources to allow WilMed to expand and enhance service, invest in its facilities and new technology and improve its efforts to recruit and retain physicians.

The hospital would also have access to Duke’s clinical, quality and patient-safety programs, officials said.

"This proposed joint venture with Duke LifePoint provides WMC and our community several unique opportunities,” said Jim Pridgen, chairman of the hospital board. "As a joint venture, WMC has an opportunity to maintain local ownership and an equal voice in the governance of our hospital. At the same time, as part of the Duke LifePoint network, we will gain access to new financial, operational and clinical resources that will help us better serve our community’s health care needs.”

 

APPROVALS

A memorandum of understanding is a non-binding agreement that authorizes the two entities to move forward with the necessary steps to pursue the joint venture. The partnership faces multiple reviews and approvals.

There will be a required public hearing process with Wilson County. There’s an existing reverter clause stemming from the hospital’s charter. The process stems from the charter and bylaws established when the hospital transferred from county ownership to become a tax-exempt organization.

Wilson County must approve any change in the hospital’s corporate structure.

The hospital’s board assumed full responsibility following a 1988 restated charter agreement. Before that time, the hospital was considered a public hospital. A commissioner still serves on the board of trustees.

According to the restated charter in 1988, upon dissolution of the corporation, exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3), trustees shall — after paying or making provision for the payment of the liabilities of the corporation — dispose of the assets of the corporation under North Carolina law to Wilson County or at the option of the Wilson County Board of Commissioners to such organization organized and operated for substantially the same purposes as this corporation.

Following a due diligence process and negotiation of a definitive agreement between the parties, the agreement would be reviewed by the N.C. Attorney General’s Office.

"We look forward to the possibility of Wilson Medical Center joining the Duke LifePoint family of hospitals,” said William J. Fulkerson Jr., executive vice president of Duke University Health System. "One of our primary goals in creating Duke LifePoint was to create strong networks of community hospitals, and WMC would be a welcome addition to the growing network. By working together, we can help ensure that the Wilson County community has access to top quality care locally.”

 

THE FUTURE

Governance would be shared equally between Wilson and Duke LifePoint, preserving the community’s input in the direction of the hospital, officials said in a statement released Tuesday.

"Wilson Medical Center is an outstanding hospital with a dedicated staff that is committed to providing high quality health care to the people it serves,” said LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. "Duke LifePoint shares Wilson Medical Center’s commitment to these core values of quality, service and community. We look forward to exploring this potential partnership further and examining how we can collaborate to continue advancing health care throughout this region.”

Officials said the assets and proceeds from the transaction would eliminate Wilson Medical Center’s debt. The new joint venture would become a tax-paying organization.

"Our board began exploring potential partnerships three years ago, and after evaluating several options over the past year, Duke LifePoint stood out as the clear choice for our community,” said Rick Hudson, Wilson Medical Center CEO. "Duke LifePoint has demonstrated a commitment to quality, the well-being of our community, the success of our employees and the future of this hospital. We are eager to get to know each other better as we proceed through the public and due diligence processes.”

 

WHY NOW?

Wilson Medical Center has stood as a largely independent hospital since its inception in 1964.

But national health care reform is spurring a trend toward consolidation, a marketplace where bigger isn’t simply considered better, but essential to survive, some industry experts believe.

A trend of hospital mergers and acquisitions has picked up momentum in health care markets across the country.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, stands as the major driver here, Hudson previously said, as well as some of the fallout from budget deficit talks, particularly expected cutbacks in medical reimbursements.

There are around 85 hospitals in Virginia, but only about six are left that are not affiliated in some manner. There are around 120 hospitals in North Carolina, but there are only 12 that have not affiliated or merged.

Larger affiliations also result in cost savings in purchasing products for the hospital, which reduces overhead. It’s known as economies of scale.

Wilson Medical Center has already championed strategic partnerships with systems such as WakeMed for cardiac procedures such as stents. This alone has trimmed some costs. But it doesn’t translate into assets.

The hospital also owns Eastern Carolina Joint Replacement Services, Wilson Regional Cancer Center, Wilson Nursing Care & Rehabilitation Center and physician offices such as New Hope Primary Care, Stantonsburg Medical Center, Wilson Arthritis & Osteoporosis, Wilson ENT and Sinus Center, Wilson Gastroenterology and Wilson Neurology.

 

DUKE LIFEPOINT

Duke LifePoint owns two other hospitals in North Carolina: Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson and Person Memorial Hospital in Roxboro. It also owns Twin County Regional Healthcare in Galax, Va.; Marquette General Hospital in Marquette, Mich.; and DLP Cardiac Partners, which offers hospital-based catheterization labs and mobile catheterization services throughout North Carolina.

Duke LifePoint Healthcare was established by LifePoint and Duke to build a network of hospitals and health care providers.

Wilson Medical Center most recently reported net assets of about $230 million. The hospital also reported net revenue of about $150 million.

 

jjimison@wilsontimes.com | 265-7813
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View Comments:Show/Hide(32 comments)
ex md said...

Hudson has ruined the hospital with poor decision making and a hands off approach. He is incompetent and surrounds himself with incompetent people. Morale is at the lowest point ever and the board has no clue as to what is going on. It is a sorry state of affairs much like our government. Good riddance. Only if he could leave without a fat severance check.

Friday, August 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM
To @ProjectX said...

That's ok, you laugh now.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 4:52 PM
said...

For some it is...I cant go to the ER much less my Dr. office every time I feel sick. I do however get a bill from BCBS every month. Its another case of some that take advantage of a system they don't have to pay for, so the ones of us who do pay extra.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 6:23 AM
@@Stop said...

Free medical care SHOULD be a right. Medical care should have never become a for-profit business. Making money off the sick and poor is just immoral. Profit brings out the greed in people and patient care decisions are made based on money and not for the care of the patient. It's funny how someone taken to Wilson Medical needing trauma care is taken to Greenville or Raleigh. What good is Wilson if you can't even go to your local hospital. Most people would rather drive the extra miles anywhere else than go to Wilson which is very sad. Don't think Duke will be able to fix the failings of Wilson Medical!!

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Action Plan Needed for ER said...

Yes, something needs to be done about the ER. No one talks to the family about what is taking so long and what is going on with the family member. The CEO at the hospital has known about the problems in ER long enough. He should have devised an action plan a long time ago. Has he tried to resolve any the problems with the ER?

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 9:34 AM
Obama Care Facts said...

Under Obama Care you will still purchase a health insurance policy from a health insurance company in North Carolina. There is no "Government Plan" unless you are on Medicare or Medicaid and those will not change in North Carolina. Under Obama Care you will select from almost three dozen plans and if your income is below a certain policy, you may receive a subsidy to make the plan more affordable but you will be responsible for the remainder of the premium. In general, rates for people over fifty will be reduced which will be offset by higher premium for younger people and the premiums from younger people who will be in purchasing policies and are not currently purchasing health policies. Remember, the premium for younger people are much lower so the percentage increase will look higher so you will have to look at the actual dollar amount of increase. Finally, don't forget the individual mandate was a Republican idea developed from The Heritage Foundation as a response to Hillary Care in the early 1990's. Republican Bob Dole introduced the Individual Mandate in a Bill in the US Senate and it was supported by almost all Republicans. Strangely, now that President Obama has included the Republican's Individual mandate in the Affordable Healthcare Act, it is socialism.

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:34 AM @ProjectX said...

Sounds like you and your kind need mental health attention. Are you serious?

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 9:51 PM ProjectW said...

In the zombie apocalypse even hospitals will not be safe. They had this on television. The safest place will be out... way out in the country. Towns will be magnets for the zombies. Medical supplies will be necessary though.

Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 11:30 PM @ Stop said...

Free medical is not a right...Doctors, nurses and hospital staff have a RIGHT to be paid for services! They have bills to pay like everyone else. You may also want to take a beginners English class at WTCC. Thanks

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 9:59 AM Still Waiting said...

Until something is done about the emergency room at Wilmed, Wilsonians will continue to take their business elsewhere when possible. There is NO excuse in having to wait hours for treatment. Has to be the poorest run ER in NC.

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 9:33 AM Overjoyed(Enter Sarcasm) said...

My dad spent 48hrs in the ER waiting for what he was told a bed to open up in the cardiac unit. To his surprise it was due to not enough staffing there were plenty of beds. Just horrible. They send you to the emergency room when they can't see you at urgent care. Everyone can't afford this crazy insurance.

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM @ To "Not Obama care not causing this said...

Have you driven through Belle Meade at all?

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 2:47 PM STOP HARASSING ME said...

Tell them Wilson hospital collectors to quit calling me now. We go to the ER because you don't need no money or insurance to see no doctors, its are rights.

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM Blessed Be said...

What would really be good is if a church could take over the hospital like in some other cities and run it with moral values.

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11:17 PM DUKE! said...

I am so happy Duke is buying Wilson Hospital. Now maybe my cancer doctor and my gynecologist will come all the way to Wilson. Now I don't have to drive to Durham. I've got my Medicaid finally!. Now I can spend more money on cigarettes and beer and not on gas. I can't wait until my social security disability comes through for my fibromyalgia. Thanks Obama

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM Explanation for ER Wait Times said...

The reason the wait times are off the charts at Wilson's ER is because they don't have enough nurses in the inpatient areas to open all their beds! They are licensed for about 300 beds and on a good day there may be 80 inpatients. The ER gets backed up with patients needing admission with nowhere to place them in the hospital because all the nurses have left due to unsafe care practices! Plus the incompetent CEO closed the mental health unit when he got there...so add 2-10 psychiatric patients in the ER waiting placement in a psych facility! The ER turns away no one...you just prepare to wait. Their hands have been tied! Hopefully, Duke has better ideas about patient flow!

Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 8:28 PM Hospital said...

Close the hospital; it's a death trap.
It's only going to get worse due to Obamacare and the impending death panels.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:28 PM To "Not Obama care not causing this said...

I suspect you are only 1/2 correct. The hospital has been in trouble for a long time. It starts at the point of entry all the way to exiting and beyond. They can't get the correct ins filed on the correct patients. My daughter had a baby and they filed my ins for me having the baby. Go figure. That's just one of many examples I have. But just so you know, I'm sure Obama care does play a part in it. Obama care is only going to help people who get turned down for insurance for pre-existing reasons. But in the end it may hurt them b/c doctors are and will be affected by it. I know everyone thinks doctors make a lot of money. If those same people only knew the overhead costs they wouldn't think so. A solo private or small group practice don't make anything. They are lucky to break even. Insurance companies do not pay doctors much and now it could get worse. Medicare is already taking back 2% of what they pay doctors. Medicare already being a low payer. The only one lower than them is Medicaid. Yes, Obama care does and will play a part in physicians and availability of physicians taking on new patients. Also on facilities for health care. You will see when you cannot get a physician to take you on as a new patient or if you have a family doctor but can't get the test performed that is needed or the medication you may need. ERs will just get worse and more backed up with non-emergency cases.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 8:02 AM Not Obama care not causing this said...

I guess those still against
"Obama Care" wish to keep we
Wilson county taxpayers paying
for those that are sick without
insurance, actually today all
hospital's are competitive and
as we look at hospital's as any
other business ,hospital's even
advertise on TV for clients.
WilMed cannot keep up with the
costly technology needed in the
modern hospital, how many of us
are sent to other hospital's for
critical care after being assesed
at WilMed?
These new association's or
partnerships can only be good
for Wilson and the surrounding
counties.
I do hope we address the plight
of the uninsured which sooner
or later we will pay for out
of taxes, my young nephew has
no insurance as he states"it's
gas in my car to go to work or
insurance fees, I cannot do both.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 7:18 PM need neurology department said...

This can only be a needed
merger and increase the needed
medical specialists and clinical
deparment's that we need here.
Imagine a mental health and
services ward?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 6:49 PM Great News said...

This is the best news for the community in years! The current CEO and Vice President of Human Resources should be run out of town for their incompetence! They have caused poor morale which flows down to patient care! They have managed to keep increasing their pay at the expense of horrible facilities and staff leaving by the bus loads! Good riddance to all current management at WilMed!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM PrayingForImprovements said...

Wilson needs more areas of improvement than just their ER. The ICU is no better. ICU is a hard place for a family to be to begin with. You are already upset, and worried then you have to be mixed with limited time with your family member and rude, compassionless nurses and doctors. Now don't get me wrong, Wilson does have a handful of exceptional nurses and doctors, but they are out weighed tremendously by their non-caring unprofessional counterparts.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM Current Employee said...

I had to go to the ER last week for a TRUE EMERGENCY! I received exceptional care while I was in the ER before being taken to the OR for an emergency operation. The problem with the ER is that people go there with conditions that can be resolved at a clinic or office setting. The ER staff knows which people are truly in need of immediate care and which individuals can wait.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM To "Great Experience!" said...

You must work with the marketing department of Wilson Medical. As someone who has recently been seen and treated at the ER here in Wilson. I would rather drive or have someone drive me an hour away to another hospital than to be treated at the ER in Wilson. However, let the ER not reflect upon the other departments inside the Hospital, but seriously the staff within the ER need training and the doctors need a class on courtesy. I was misdiagnosed and from the CT Scan that was done, who ever read it, and then the ER doc who looked at it, I went days without a proper diagnoses and severe pain. I waited 4 hours before being seen, and then additional hours in the back being treated and waiting to be treated. The ineffectiveness of this hospital is easily seen, by a quick stroll through its ER.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM Taranata said...

Hospital finds "partner"? You mean conspirator.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 5:06 PM ERpatient said...

ER needs help? No... where else can you go sit for 4 hours (3 on gurney by the nurses station) and then be told by Dr. Williamson that you need to see a Dr before discharging me? You don't say. I only had numbness down my arm to my fingers but hey I got exceptional care. Oh did I mention the security guard and nurse making fun of another patient crying out for meds? Or the fact that the same nurse was on facebook on her phone? But when I filed a complaint I received a letter saying that they saw no problems in the care I received. The guy that was shot the other night by the cops probably had flesh wound before he got there lol.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM Great Experience! said...

Both of my parents have been taken to the Wilmed ER with serious issues and were treated with an exceptional level of care and with the urgency their conditions demanded. Well Done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 3:31 PM current facts? said...

When was this article written? Stantonsburg Medical Center was closed and bought by someone else at the end of May. (Which was a shady deal for the patients and employees.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 3:26 PM to1storderofbusiness said...

AMEN! The ER needs a lot of work!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 1:43 PM 2ndOrderOfBusiness said...

.....remove upper management!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 1:28 PM ex employee said...

start packing HUDSON
SEE YA

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 1:14 PM 1storderofbusiness said...

The first thing they need to look at is the ER. I recently spent 10 hours there with a family member. Five hours to wait and even get vitals taken and another three hours before we were in a room.
I would have understood if there were patients that were seriously ill ahead of us, but trust me they weren't. How ill can you be if you are stuffing you face with McDonalds or vending machine food all day!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM
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