The Town of North Wilkesboro, the Wilkes Regional Medical Center (WRMC) Hospital Operating Corp. and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on Tuesday officially entered into a letter of intent for a long-term lease of WRMC to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
According to a press release from Winston-Salem-based Wake Forest Baptist, the letter of intent is non-binding.
The document includes Wake Forest Baptist’s proposal to invest $238 million to lease WRMC from the town for 30 years.
The $238 million includes:
• $32 million for WRMC programs and capital needs in the first five years of the lease;
• $113 million for WRMC programs and capital needs in years six to 30 of the lease;
• $15 million to the town at closing;
• $41 million to the town in annual lease payments over 30 years;
• $5 million to the new WRMC Foundation at closing (unrestricted funds for community health needs);
• $5 million over five years to the WRMC Foundation (restricted to hospital supporting programs);
• $5 million over 30 years to the WRMC Foundation (restricted to community health needs assessment programs);
• $22 million in loan forgiveness for loan proceeds already used for emergency department and operating room upgrades.
Representatives of parties signed the letter of intent during a town board meeting Tuesday night.
As outlined in the letter of intent, Wake Forest Baptist will transition WRMC and its affiliate, Wilkes Physician Network (WPN), to its electronic medical record system as soon as feasible.
“The transition period we are entering is a key step in the evolution of our partnership with Wake Forest Baptist,” said Eric Cramer, WRMC board chairman.
Currently, the WRMC board leases the 130-bed hospital from the town and Charlotte-based Carolinas HealthCare Systems manages WRMC under a contract with the WRMC board. The town receives a little over $600,000 a year under this arrangement.
“Wilkes Regional does a tremendous job in serving its community,” said Wake Forest Baptist CEO John D. McConnell, M.D.