Memorial Health board voting on Novant partnership Tuesday - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Memorial Health board voting on Novant partnership Tuesday

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

New details regarding Memorial Health's move to partner with Novant Health, a non-profit medical network based in North Carolina.

Both parties are finalizing their demands from each other, including a commitment from Novant of $295 million to help fund multiple projects at Memorial, including the Willett Children's Hospital, a major expansion for ambulance services in Pooler, expansion of heart and vascular services and additional critical care beds.

Memorial's board members will be voting on the plan this upcoming Tuesday night.

Full outline of key terms of the agreement: 


  • Novant Health and Memorial Health will integrate their mission statements.
  • Memorial’s community-based mission will be maintained.
  • Novant Health capital commitment of $295 million during the first ten years, including the following projects:
  • Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah $15 million
  • Major ambulatory expansion in Pooler
  • Expansion of Heart and Vascular services
  • Additional critical care beds
  • Memorial and Novant Health will jointly develop a strategic plan focused on access to care and growth.
  • Novant Health and Memorial will develop a co-branding plan.
  • Novant Health will guaranty or provide other forms of assurance or security for the Series 2012A Bonds and redeem the bonds at the earliest time that such redemption and cancellation is feasible and economically sound.
  • Novant Health will support full implementation of electronic health record, Epic.


  • Novant Health intends to continue the employment of all current employees and will update the market evaluation of compensation rates.
  • Physician agreements and arrangements will be continued.
  • Memorial will maintain Memorial Health Partners as a local managed care organization that provides direct employer contracting to local employers.


  • The Memorial Health Board of Directors remain in office subject to current Memorial bylaws governing composition of the Board.
  • The Memorial Health Foundation remains in place.
  • The Memorial Health Board of Directors will have the right to nominate a qualified candidate to serve on Novant Health’s Board of Directors.
  • The local medical staff structure, credentialing and privileges remain in place.

Patient Care

  • Novant Health commits to support clinical quality and patient safety.
  • Novant shall integrate its population health management programs to participate in accountable care and value-based programs.
  • Clinical services will be maintained, including the following major service lines unless both parties agree in writing to any material changes:
  • Curtis & Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute
  • Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah, including the continuation of existing pediatric specialties and maintenance of the Level III Neonatal designation
  • Memorial Stroke program and Neurosciences
  • Memorial Bone & Joint program and Orthopedics
  • The Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Rehabilitation services and therapy
  • Center for Behavioral Medicine
  • Memorial Spine program and Neurosurgery
  • M. Gage Ochsner, M.D. Institute for Injury Research and Prevention
  • Parker’s Emergency & Trauma Center, including the maintenance of the Level 1 Trauma designation
  • Women’s Services, including perinatology and high risk obstetrics
  • Physician Practices
  • Medical Education, including residency programs and hosting medical schools
  • Memorial will continue to provide care to all people, regardless of ability to pay.
  • These terms are bound by the completion of capital investment and the 2012 bond issue. 

Status of Negotiations

As we’ve said since exclusive discussions with Novant Health were announced last September, this is a complex process with many stakeholders.  At present, the Board has now vetted the Member Substitution Agreement, and shared it with the Chatham County Hospital Authority (CCHA) and Chatham County.  The CCHA and County are in the process of negotiating potential modifications to the lease between Memorial Health and CCHA.  All parties are working together.

Risks of Not Proceeding

Make no mistake, there are risks for Memorial Health, and for the community, if the process does not proceed.  As we’ve said all along, the primary objective is to maintain Memorial’s mission.   Specifically, this could mean changes to:

  • Medical education
  • Subsidized clinical services
  • Community safety net support
  • Capital spending
  • Ability to keep up with market-based compensation 

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