#politics | NHRMC, county leaders speak out against ‘inflammatory’ political ads

New Hanover Regional Medical Center. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A recent political ad supporting NC Treasurer Dale Folwell is raising the ire of county leaders and an advisory group tasked with overseeing the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

The ad, paid for by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, focuses of Folwell’s  Clear Pricing Project. The ad claims NHRMC refuses to join the project and has a different idea, to sell the county hospital to an out of state for-profit corporation.

The ad ends with a narrator telling viewers “Don’t sell us out, join Dale Folwell’s Clear Pricing Project.”

NHRMC and New Hanover County sent two letters to the SEANC and Treasurer Folwell.

Julia Olson-Boseman and NHRMC Board of Trustees Chairman Jason Thompson co-authored one letter defending the Partnership Advisory Group and the options NHRMC is exploring.

“No decision or recommendation has been made. Yet, your organization is running a commercial in the Wilmington market claiming there is a plan to sell to a for-profit health system,” the letter to the SEANC states. “This is a clear effort to distort a local issue to advance your political agenda. We urge you to stop spreading misinformation.”

The letter goes on to call the political attack ‘unwarranted and insulting’ to the PAG.

Olson-Boseman and Thompson sent a similar letter to Folwell.

“State Employees Association of North Carolina is running commercials supporting you and your agenda that are filled with false claims about NHRMC and this process,” they wrote. “The commercials say NHRMC wants to sell to an out-of-state, for-profit health system. This is deliberately inflammatory and meant to mislead area citizens.”

The letter asks Folwell to publicly denounce these ‘lies’ and to ask SEANC to stop them.

New Hanover County also released a statement from Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman.

“A recent political ad, paid for by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, deliberately tries to damage the work of the Partnership Advisory Group members, who are giving their time and volunteering to make healthcare in our community better for everyone. To suggest that the PAG or NHRMC is actively trying to sell our hospital to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation is a falsehood. A list of the organizations interested in some form of partnership with NHRMC has been publicized and includes more than 25 organizations – most of them not-for-profits (a slide from a PAG presentation is below to show the range of organizations). The PAG is also undergoing a deliberate and detailed process over the coming months on how to remain county-owned. All of this is laying the foundation and groundwork to know where we go from this point, and what is the best option for our healthcare system to ensure it can continue delivering the best quality care to our community well into the future. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate. That’s why I, along with NHRMC Board of Trustees Chair Jason Thompson, have co-authored letters that were sent to the State Employees Association of North Carolina and to North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who the ad is endorsing. We have asked them to stop spreading false narratives that are only meant to advance their political agendas, and I sincerely hope they will stop misleading our citizens.”

WWAY has reached out to the SEANC. We will bring you more details as they become available.

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