After a big cardiology practice long associated with WakeMed aligned with Rex Hospital, Bill Atkinson refused to sit quietly. The WakeMed CEO told reporters that UNC, through its ownership of Rex, was creating an unfair playing field in Wake County. He complained that public subsidies allowed UNC and Rex to make deals such as the one with Wake Heart, the cardiology practice that drove much of WakeMed's heart business. Dale Jenkins, the Rex board chairman, figured board members could step in and ease tensions. He and Billie Redmond, chairwoman of WakeMed's board, invited leaders of both boards to a meeting days before Christmas in 2010.