An Eastern Carolina hospital that's seen recent cutbacks and layoffs says it is searching for a partnership with another hospital or health system.
Lenoir Memorial Hospital says it's hired a Chicago-based financial advisory firm to help find a partner for the hospital.
Earlier this fall the hospital announced it was cutting jobs and services because of another year of expected red ink.
The hospital eliminated 85 positions. Sixty of those were through early retirement or voluntary departures, while 15 employees were let go.
LMH says it expects confidential discussions with a number of potential partners to begin in the spring and that process to take at least a year to complete.
"We recognize that the way healthcare is provided today - where it is offered, how it is paid for, how it is measured - is changing dramatically," said Ray Collier, chairman of the Lenoir Memorial Board of Directors. "We believe now, when Lenoir Memorial is financially strong, is the right time to look for a strategic partner," Collier added. "We can evaluate our choices from a position of strength and allow ourselves time to conduct a thoughtful and thorough review on our own terms."
Asked if the hospital would entertain a possible merger or purchase, a spokeswoman said they were nowhere near that yet.