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Vidant, ECU sign agreement to integrate physican practices

From left to right: ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton, Dr. Nick Benson, interim dean of the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health CEO Michael Waldrum (Cliff Hollis, ECU photo)

GREENVILLE, Pitt County - East Carolina University and Vidant Health will join forces to help with health care, patients, the cost of health care and more.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Vidant Health and ECU announced the signing of a formal agreement to integrate ECU physicians, the clinical practice of The Brody School of Medicine at ECU, with Vidant Medical Group, Vidant's multi-specialty physician group subsidiary into the new entity created last year. The new organization will work to reduce the cost for patients, increase access to new therapies and technologies, reduce the impact of chronic disease in the area and expand training sites for medical students. Another goal that was announced is to increase the opportunity for clinical trials that benefit rural areas. The combined expertise from the two organizations brings the medical research capabilities and faculty expertise unique to ECU together with specialized clinical expertise and operational capabilities at Vidant Health in all of the communities it serves. The terms of the agreement meet the parameters set forth by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. "The hard work and commitment of generations of leaders, combined with the visionary thinking and persistence of so many who serve this area today has borne fruit," said ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton. "This is an agreement forged from one idea, that together we can create a better way to deliver health care to even the most rural areas of eastern North Carolina. "The combination of skills from both organizations into one new entity flows naturally from a longstanding partnership. It also mirrors similar developments at other health care institutions across the country in response to significant changes in the health care landscape." "We have set ambitious goals to coordinate access, education, research and clinical trials that further enhance the missions of these two acclaimed organizations," said Vidant Chief Executive Officer Dr. Michael Waldrum. "Our shared vision is to be the national model for rural health and wellness by creating a premier, trusted academic delivery system for the benefit of the people of eastern North Carolina." As part of the agreement, Vidant will make an initial $35 million payment to ECU and an annual $14.25 million mission support payment to Brody School of Medicine for the next 30 years. The new organization is expected to begin operations in 2018.

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