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WakeMed Requests UNC Health Care Records

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 30, 2010

Updated Nov. 30, 2010.

Private, not-for-profit WakeMed Health & Hospitals has asked to look at the public records of rival UNC Health Care and Rex Healthcare to determine if public money was used by either of the state-owned entities to duplicate and shift services to gain an unfair competitive edge.

"WakeMed made the request due to numerous recent transactions by UNC Health Care which have raised serious public-policy questions," said Bill Atkinson, MD, president/CEO of Raleigh-based WakeMed, after the health system's board unanimously voted Monday to make request the records.

"Specifically, the records request is to determine if UNC Health Care and Rex Healthcare are improperly using taxpayer dollars to compete with WakeMed and other healthcare institutions by investing in physician practices and other facilities," Atkinson said.

WakeMed alleges that UNC Health Care and Rex have taken "predatory actions" in Wake County that include recruiting doctors away from WakeMed.

In remarks related to the records request, Dr. Bill Roper, CEO of UNC Health Care said Monday, "our guiding philosophy has been to partner with the best physicians in a community, and to help ensure that we get patients to the right care at the right time. In particular, this means that if the needed care can be provided locally, it should be provided locally, by our partner physicians. Certainly we want to be available at UNC for Wake County patients, as we are to all of the people of North Carolina, for tertiary or quaternary medical care. But we have no intention of siphoning patients.

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