Duke Lifepoint purchases Wilson Medical Center

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WILSON – Just after midnight on Saturday, Wilson Medical Center officially became a part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of LifePoint Hospitals and Duke University Health Systems.

The deal officially closed at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, confirmed Diane Huggins, LifePoint vice president of communications, and Thomas Stukes, Wilson Medical Center attorney.

Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Duke LifePoint owns 80 percent of the Wilson hospital, and Wilson Medical Center owns the remaining 20 percent.

“This is a very exciting day for our employees, physicians, patients and community,” Jim Pridgen, chairman of the Wilson Medical Center Board of Directors, said in a statement. “Our board is thrilled to finalize this agreement and begin our new future as part of Duke LifePoint. We look forward to working with the team at Duke LifePoint in the months and years to come to expand the ways that we can make this community healthier.”

The agreement reached between the parties calls for $120 million in capital investments at Wilson Medical Center in the next decade.

“Wilson Medical Center is a wonderful addition to Duke LifePoint,” Dr. William J. Fulkerson Jr., executive vice president of Duke University Health System, said. “We are pleased to add it to our growing network of community hospitals and health care providers. Together, we have a great opportunity to transform health care delivery in Wilson and the surrounding region.”

Governance of the Wilson hospital will be split 50-50 through a 10-member board with five Duke LifePoint members and five Wilson members. A Wilson County commissioner will serve as one of the five Wilson members. Commissioner Thomas Lucas has been appointed.

A separate board of trustees consisting of physicians, community leaders and a representative from Duke LifePoint will be established.

Starting Monday, Jerry Dooley will serve as interim chief executive officer. He succeeds President and CEO Rick Hudson, whose retirement was effective when the deal closed. He will remain at the hospital for an additional six months to tie up aspects of the deal.

“Rick Hudson has been an excellent leader at Wilson Medical Center, and we wish him the very best in his retirement,” LifePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III said in a statement. “We are confident that Jerry can successfully lead the transition for Wilson Medical Center as it becomes part of Duke LifePoint’s network of hospitals.”

He is a seasoned hospital executive who will be a great addition to the Wilson team until a permanent CEO is named. We look forward to working with the leadership at Wilson to strengthen and enhance health care services to the community.”

Dooley is from Terre Haute, Ind., and has spent seven years serving as interim CEO for hospitals within the LifePoint system. Dooley holds a master’s degree in economics from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota.

An interim chief financial officer, Debbie Kyzar, is also on-site. Under the LifePoint model, a chief operating officer will be named. That person would fall under the CEO in the organizational structure. A search is under way at this time to identify that person.

Wilson Medical Center is the fifth hospital nationally and third hospital in North Carolina to become part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare.