UNC Health Care was selected by Judge Benjamin A. Kahn as the winning bidder for Morehead Memorial Hospital at a Nov. 13 hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of N.C.

It sets the course for the 108-bed hospital to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2018 and continue providing healthcare to the residents of Eden and the surrounding area.

In the coming weeks, members of UNC Health Care will be visiting the hospital and the Eden area to begin building relationships with community leaders and Morehead Memorial team members, said William Roper, MD, MPH, CEO of UNC Health Care, in a Nov. 14 memo to his staff.

“We will seek to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders from Morehead Memorial and the community to learn about the needs of the staff, the providers, and the community and to establish a vision for the future,” Roper said. “We have a proud history of enhancing local medical care and improving the health of North Carolinians statewide, especially in rural areas. Our goal in Rockingham County will be to make Morehead Memorial Hospital stronger by supporting existing services and developing new services as needed.”

Finding a partner for the community owned hospital was the goal of Morehead’s Board of Trustees when it filed a petition for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on July 10.

“The Board of Trustees are very excited to have this opportunity to work with UNC,” said Eugene Russell, Chairman of Morehead’s Board of Trustees. “Our community has been a strong advocate for this partnership, and we continue to look to them to make Morehead and UNC Health Care their choice for care,” Russell said.

The sale closing should take place within 60 days. Morehead will operate as usual during the transition, delivering the trusted care that has become its tagline.