NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — CarolinaEast Health System and UNC Health are terminating their affiliation, effective March 31.

The affiliation agreement has been in effect since July 1, 2021.

“CarolinaEast and UNC Health have reached a mutual agreement that it is in our best interests to no longer maintain our Affiliation Agreement. We thank UNC Health for their support and collaboration through the duration of our partnership,” CarolinaEast CEO Michael Smith said in a press release.

Officials said the termination is “not expected to cause disruption or other difficulty with regard to processing of claims relating to payment for care provided to individuals insured by governmental or private insurers.” They said the change will not disrupt CarolinaEast’s clinical, operational or administrative functions.

“CarolinaEast is a high-quality healthcare system serving the people of eastern North Carolina,” UNC Health COO Steve Burriss said. “We wish them all the best moving forward and thank their teammates for being part of our team for the past 18 months.”

When the affiliation was announced in 2021, then-CarolinaEast president and CEO Ray Leggett — who has since retired — said the agreement would make the health system “bigger and better,” and would help “bring capabilities to New Bern that have not been here in the past.”

Under the agreement, CarolinaEast remained a separate legal entity under the authority of its own board of directors.