UNC System, ECU, Pitt Co. Government and Vidant Health reach agreement

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCT) The UNC System, East Carolina University, Pitt County Government and Vidant Health have reached an agreement to resolve a pending lawsuit concerning the affiliation between the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center.

The UNC System and ECU filed the lawsuit in May after Vidant and Pitt County eliminated the authority of the UNC System’s Board of Governors to appoint nine of the 20 members of the Vidant Medical Center Board of Trustees.

The parties worked collaboratively over the past few months to reach an agreement on the University’s appointments to the Vidant Medical Center board and to establish a framework for future cooperation between the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center.

“We are pleased that this agreement honors the long-standing partnership between Vidant, Pitt County and East Carolina University. ECU’s Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center play an important and vital role in ensuring quality health care for eastern North Carolina and future generations of medical professionals for all of North Carolina,” said Randy Ramsey, chair of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System.

Details of the agreement related to the Vidant Medical Center Board of Trustees: 

  • The Dean of the Brody School of Medicine and the Chancellor of East Carolina University will fill two of nine seats appointed by UNC Board of Governors;
  • Trustees for the remaining seven seats will be nominated by a Vidant Medical Center Board of Trustees nominating committee for approval by the Board of Governors;
  • The Chief Executive Officer for Vidant Health will serve as an official, designated liaison to the East Carolina University Board of Trustees Health Sciences Committee; and
  • The Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center will jointly engage a financial consultant to assess the current financial relationship between the entities.

“I am pleased that we have been able to achieve a resolution that strengthens the relationship between Vidant and the ECU Brody School of Medicine,” said Beth Ward, chair, Pitt County Board of Commissioners. I look forward to the continued success of the partnership between Pitt County, Vidant and ECU that has provided quality health care to serve the residents throughout eastern North Carolina.”

The agreement strengthens the relationships among the institutions and creates a fair process to ensure the right leadership is in place to best serve the East.

In addition, the dean of the Brody School of Medicine will continue to serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Vidant Health Board.

Dr. Mark Stacy, vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the Brody School of Medicine, said, “We are pleased that the structural alignment decisions have been completed, so we can focus on our shared mission of becoming a national model for rural health and wellness.”

“There is nothing more important than the people we collectively serve throughout eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Mike Waldrum, chief executive officer, Vidant Health. Everyone involved understands the unique challenges facing our rural communities. A strong partnership is vital as we work together to support and train the next generations of medical professionals and to deliver high-quality care close to home.”

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Vidant Medical Center continues to be committed and open to discussions about changes to its board structure.

It includes conversations with elected representatives and conversations with the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, East Carolina University and Pitt County. 

On Monday, Vidant Medical Center and Pitt County submitted a proposed settlement agreement. 
 
The agreement includes:

  •  The State budget must include $28 million in funding toward the planning of a new building for the Brody School of Medicine.
  • The language included in the State budget penalizing VMC $35 million must be removed. 

Changes to the VMC Board structure would include:

  • Pitt County would continue to appoint 11 members or 55 percent of the VMC Board; at least one would be a Pitt County physician. 
  • The UNC BOG would appoint four members. 
  • The VMC Board would appoint two ECU physicians nominated by a special committee chaired by the Dean of the Brody School of Medicine. 
  • The VMC Board would appoint two members. 
  • The Dean of the Brody School of Medicine would serve as a member. 

All parties would continue discussing the following:

  • Equal pay for ECU and UNC faculty in their respective medical schools for teaching and research.
  • Proportionate class expansion for ECU and UNC in their respective medical schools.
  • ECU naming rights to VMC.
  • Clinical and operational matters.
  • Change of control protection for UNC BOG.

There are currently two open seats on the VMC Board.

The Dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU would serve in one seat.

The VMC Board would appoint a member to the other seat. 

Current members of the VMC Board would complete their terms.

Current litigation would be dismissed.

Even without an agreement, the General Assembly should take action to immediately remove the $35 million penalties included in the State budget.

This cut to VMC will have devastating consequences for the people of eastern North Carolina and is on top of another $38 million in cuts as a result of action by the State Treasurer.

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