We sure could use a little good news today | Beaufort County Now | Having lived through the past couple of years, you will no doubt agree with the 1983 Anne Murray song, “We Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today.” I’m happy to oblige with some.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Tom Campbell

    Having lived through the past couple of years, you will no doubt agree with the 1983 Anne Murray song, "We Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today." I'm happy to oblige with some.

    Starting the first of this year ECU's Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health have completed a joint operating agreement and formed a new entity, ECU Heath. Why is this good news and why is it good news for all of North Carolina?

    For many years Vidant and the Brody School of Medicine have worked together, but that relationship at times has been tenuous, with separate leadership and boards. This new joint operating agreement creates one entity (although both will have separate legal identities) that will streamline administration and records, create a more transparent and seamless teaching hospital for the med school's students and, most importantly, result in better and less costly health services for more than 1.4 million residents.

    This new agreement is good news for our state because the Brody School of Medicine ranks number one in North Carolina for training primary care physicians who remain in North Carolina to practice and also who serve rural areas. Access to healthcare in rural areas is scarce and getting more so. Rural hospitals are closing, 11 percent of our population lacks health insurance and health statistics are alarming, as the rural poverty rate is estimated at 18 percent. Not only are ECU doctors trained to serve in primary care, they have a calling to go to underserved areas. Three of our 100 counties (all rural) have no doctors; 20 have only a few physicians. It is predicted we will have a nationwide shortage of primary care physicians of up to 55,000 by 2033. ECU's training is essential and has been its mission from the beginning.

    Leo Jenkins, at the time President of East Carolina College, understood the need and had a passion to start the fourth school in the state to train doctors. He and Robert Morgan, then the Senate President Pro Tem, East Carolina alum and chair of the Board of East Carolina, launched a campaign to make it a reality. It was immediately opposed by former UNC President Bill Friday and UNC Chapel Hill. My dad was serving in the NC House at the time, serving Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe Counties.

    Dad told me Jenkins and Morgan called a meeting of all the Eastern legislators. Jenkins made the case forcefully, saying that this medical school would be the making of the Eastern half of our state. Its mission was the training of a new generation of doctors to replace the cadre of aging family doctors. Morgan told the caucus that he knew many of them were graduates of UNC Chapel Hill and that they were getting a lot of pressure from that faction to vote against the school. Morgan reminded each legislator that their job was to represent their districts and they surely knew how badly better medical care was needed. Both Morgan and Jenkins told the legislators that this would likely be the most significant piece of legislation they would ever pass and promised to rally support for them in their districts, finally urging them to lobby their fellow members. It worked.

    Jenkins and Morgan were prescient. Not only has the Brody School of Medicine been an economic engine for the East but it has been invaluable as access has dramatically declined and costs have greatly escalated.

    For some years there have been efforts to make the relationship between Vidant and the Brody School a better partnership. Many have supported the effort. ECU Chancellor Philip Rogers knew that history and understood the importance. Working with former Vidant CEO Mike Waldrum (now CEO of ECU Health) and together, with the cooperation and urging of the UNC Board of Governors, ECU Trustees and Vidant's board, they made the final successful push. Now ECU Health has a similar operating structure to UNC Health, Duke Health and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. This is a healthy step for all North Carolinians.

    After two years of virus, turmoil and rancor this is good news we can use. Time will prove it a historic event.

      Tom Campbell is a Hall of Fame North Carolina Broadcaster and columnist who has covered North Carolina public policy issues since 1965. He recently retired from writing, producing and moderating the statewide half-hour TV program NC SPIN that aired 22 1/2 years. Contact him at tomcamp@carolinabroadcasting.com.
Go Back

HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis slammed Democrat President Joe Biden in remarks this week during an interview, saying that there were a lot of problems around the country with “Brandon,” a name used to mock Biden, in office.
Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy pedophile who was found dead in his New York City jail cell in 2019 as he faced new criminal charges, reportedly visited then-President Bill Clinton’s White House numerous times and brought several women.
On the Fourth of July, Missouri Congresswoman and outspoken ‘Defund the Police’ advocate, Cori Bush tweeted this statement.
Democratic U.S. candidate Cheri Beasley tweeted Wednesday that if she had been in the Senate, she would have voted in favor of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

HbAD1

Judges in redistricting trial refused to sanction defendants over maps drawn by Rep. Destin Hall and staffers during "strategy sessions."
The Republican Lieutenant Governors Association (RLGA), a caucus of the Republican State Leadership Committee, today announced its 2022 Executive Committee.
even France announces it may move in same direction
The General Assembly returned to Raleigh this week to act on two pieces of legislation including HB 605
Less than a week before lawyers on both sides of the case were scheduled to head to the N.C. Court of Appeals, a lawsuit challenging key decisions in North Carolina’s Medicaid “transformation” is going away.

HbAD2

Today, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement on Biden’s disastrous first year in office

HbAD3

 
Back to Top