WakeMed Requests UNC Health Care Records

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 30, 2010

"We believe that leaders of our state—including the General Assembly, the governor and the leadership of the university system and UNC Health Care—need to carefully consider whether public money should be used to compete with a strong system like WakeMed, which plays a critical role in providing vital healthcare services to Wake County and the entire state," WakeMed's Atkinson said. "While competition is healthy, these recent actions are not enhancing access or adding new physicians to meet demand, but are instead shifting and duplicating existing services, which is not good for the community."

Atkinson said the moves by UNC and Rex appear to be financed with public money at a time when the state of North Carolina is looking at drastic steps to balance the budget, including teacher layoffs, closing of state parks, eliminating 2,000 positions from the University of North Carolina System, and cutting healthcare. 

WakeMed's records request to UNC Health Care asks for "all records constituting or reflecting correspondence or communications, other than correspondence or communications relating to identifiable patients" between UNC Health Care, Rex Healthcare, certain officials at UNC Health Care and subsidiary organizations with members of WakeMed's medical staff.

WakeMed also requested "audited financial statements" and other records related to UNC Health Care, Rex Healthcare, Rex Physicians LLC, and Triangle Physician Network, including 990 IRS forms from the named organizations.

WakeMed said it hopes the records will determine the legal status of Rex Healthcare, which is described as a private institution owned by UNC. WakeMed claims that Rex does not provide its fair share of indigent and charity care.

WakeMed, an 870-bed health system, said it has historically provided more than 80% of all charity care in Wake County, yet receives no state or county funding other than limited payments from Medicare and Medicaid. 

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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