UNC System and Vidant Health reach agreement to avoid court battle

Vidant Medical Center

Vidant Health, East Carolina University, the UNC System and the Pitt County government announced an agreement Wednesday that resolves a pending lawsuit over who appoints  members of the Vidant Medical Center board.

Tensions between the UNC system and the Greenville-based health system exploded in May after Vidant’s board moved to strip the UNC Board of Governors of its ability to appoint members to the board of Vidant Medical Center. The UNC system sued to prevent the move and a judge granted a temporary restraining order, directing the two sides into mediation to resolve the conflict.

The UNC System announced the details of the deal in a statement Wednesday. According to the system, the agreement states:

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

“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, the newly elected chair of the UNC System Board of Governors.

Dr. Mike Waldrum, chief executive officer, Vidant Health, said in a prepared statement that the agreement will allow all parties to focus on what is most important.

“Everyone involved understands the unique challenges facing our rural communities,” Waldrum said. “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.”

Beth Ward, chair of the Pitt County Board of Commissioners, agreed.

“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,” Ward said. “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.”

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