Local health care in peril in eastern North Carolina

Published 6:01 pm Friday, June 21, 2019

Vidant Medical Center is a vital pillar of our community, leading the way in rural health care and improving the health of the people of eastern North Carolina. As members of the VMC Board of Trustees, we take our role as stewards of this community asset seriously and will do what we believe is right to protect it.

Not only is it our responsibility, but it is our passion to deliver on the health care needs of the eastern North Carolina community. Dedicated Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, private community and Vidant physicians work together seamlessly at the bedside daily. The team members, families, friends and neighbors who make up our community depend on VMC as a partner to provide quality care, employ thousands of residents, train future nurses, physicians and other providers and reinvest in our community.

As part of our commitment to eastern North Carolina, we unanimously agreed to restructure the VMC board to better reflect and meet the needs of the people Vidant serves. Every member of the board, including those appointed by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, agreed these changes were necessary to advance health care in eastern North Carolina and to strengthen our partnership with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University; a relationship that we fully support and value greatly.

Although we continually focus on meeting and enhancing the health care needs of our community, there are those outside of eastern North Carolina who have made politically motivated moves that will hinder our ability to fully deliver on our mission in the future. These harmful decisions were made in order to control health care in the East.

Most recently, the Senate pushed through a proposed budget that will cut $35 million annually in Medicaid payments to Vidant. This comes on top of the $38 million annual cut to Vidant due to changes to the State Health Plan that would take effect in January. The collective $73 million in cuts to the Vidant system will have devastating consequences for health care in eastern North Carolina.

Members of the VMC board took an oath to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina, and we remain committed to that mission. We want to ensure that the people we care for are represented by those who understand them best and are committed to improving their access to quality, patient-centered care.

VMC Board of Trustees
Bynum Satterwhite, chair
James Chesnutt, vice chair
Dr. Marcus Albernaz
Joanne Burgdorff
Dr. Shirley Carraway
Carlester T. Crumpler
Phillip Dixon Sr.
Michael Fitzpatrick
Bruce Gray
Robert Greczyn Jr.
Phil Hodges
Polly Johnson
Arthur Keeney
Thomasine Kennedy
Bryant Kittrell
William Monk Jr.
Dr. Mary J. Raab
Diane Taylor
Dr. Andy Tewari