The latest row between WakeMed Health and Hospitals and UNC Health Care has placed the UNC system and looming state budget cuts at the center of the fray.
In a letter to UNC-system President Thomas Ross last week, WakeMed officials offered to purchase Rex Healthcare, a subsidiary of UNC Health Care, for $750 million. Officials said the sale could alleviate the state’s economic troubles and proposed cuts to higher education.
“This influx of cash will significantly positively impact the state and in return the university system and UNC Health Care,” the letter said.
The story so far
WakeMed Health and Hospitals has had a thorny history with UNC Health Care:
April 2000: Rex Healthcare accepts a buyout offer of about $290 million from UNC Health Care after previous talks with WakeMed about a possible merger.
Fall 2010: UNC Hospitals reports that it expects to lose about $300 million in charity care expenses, one-fifth of the hospital’s total operating expenses.
Nov. 29, 2010: WakeMed submits a formal request for financial information and other public records from UNC Hospitals.
May 12, 2011: WakeMed officials send a letter to UNC-system President Thomas Ross offering to buy Rex for $750 million. Officials say the sale could benefit the state and the system during a time of economic troubles and budget cuts.
WakeMed, a private, not-for-profit health care system based in Raleigh, has clashed with UNC Health Care in the past. WakeMed has accused UNC Health Care of engaging in “predatory behavior” and using its state resources to limit competition and partner with profitable private physicians’ practices and hospitals like Rex.
William Atkinson, president and chief executive of WakeMed, said in an interview that WakeMed’s principal motivation is to improve the efficiency of health care services in Wake County by consolidating with Rex.