What do WakeMed Employees Think?

When the Special Committee for the UNC Health Care Board of Directors called for public comments on WakeMed’s proposal to purchase Rex Healthcare, the majority of responses – 80 percent – were against ending the partnership.

Many of the responses came from health care professionals in our area, including current and former WakeMed employees. We’ve included some of these comments below, and they raise several questions:

  • If WakeMed employees and affiliated physicians are against a WakeMed/Rex organization, why does Bill Atkinson continue to press forward with their proposal?
  • Why do they think competition and choice are important, regardless of where they work?
  • Why are WakeMed employees unhappy with their benefits and uneasy about finances?

Together, UNC Health Care and Rex Healthcare provide a great value to Wake County and to the state as a whole. And many WakeMed employees, along with a great majority of other members of the community, appear to understand and support the UNC/Rex partnership.

We still want to hear your thoughts about the UNC Health Care/Rex Healthcare partnership and health care in Wake County. Please share your thoughts here.

Note: We’ve redacted the names of the people who made the below comments to protect their anonymity. They were not edited for content, spelling or grammar.


“I am a physician in private practice who works primarily at WakeMed. I can say that the physicians I have spoken to overwhelmingly oppose WakeMed’s proposal to purchase Rex. Moreover, the subset of physicians considering hospital integration prefer not to be employed by WakeMed, if given a choice.”


“Having worked as a supervisor at WakeMed for over 5 years and now at Rex, I am certain that it would NOT be in the best interest of the citizens of Raleigh and other nearby communities. The culture of both organizations is notably different with Rex being by far better. Furthermore, the team-up of UNC and Rex is far better than that of WakeMed and Rex since UNC has a Medical School and WakeMed does not.”


“I work at WakeMed and do not support this for several reasons. First, competition is good. Second, having multiple choices of healthcare providers is good. Third, I will give credit where credit is due regardless of who is providing it, but my last few experiences at WakeMed were horrible. The care from the nursing staff was pathetic and I was actually scared to leave my father alone. Lastly, I am not a fan of Bill Atkinson, I think the least of amount of power he has is better.”


“I am a current employee at WakeMed and this is a terrible business decision. I think it will make allot of nurses leave WakeMed and other ancillary staff. This move creates no competetion for WakeMed and in turn wages will be effected. To me this just seems a very greedy move and not a smart one.”


“As an employee of WakeMed, I am concerned that adding Rex to the WakeMed system will cause a further drop in salaries for those employed by both systems. My salary has been cut over 20% in the last three years….and feeding my family is a little harder. With fewer hospital systems in the triangle area, I fear that there will be less competition for talented workers and even less of a paternalistic attitude of employers who may have lost touch with the folks at the bedside.”


“I realize that you are required to consider the proposal of Wake Med’s to purchase Rex Healthcare. I work at Wake Med and I think that is probably one of the most insane ideas Bill Atkinson has ever come up with. Wake Med has treated their employees terrible in the last two years,and to have autonomy and power over that many people would be extremely bad for the community. We stood by when Bill asks us to give several of our benefits so that Wake Med would not be in the red. Wake Med never was in the red-and now Wake Med has surplus monies to buy another hospital! Bill Atkinson (crazy and narcissistic).”


“I have been an active Staff member at WakeMed and Rex Hospital since my arrival here in 2000. As a busy plastic and reconstructive surgeon -I spent the majority of the first 7 years of my career in Raleigh doing reconstructive cases at WakeMed. Now I utilize Rex on the vast majority of the cases. My switch in preference dates back to Dr Atkinson’s arrival and several years thereafter. My world is the OR and ease of use and efficiency of the scheduling process are critical. I have found a general decline in quality and organization of the OR at the Raleigh Campus to the point that I prefer not to go there. When I do, the cases are often running late. Thankfully there are some veteran staff members there who make an extra effort to work with non WakeMed surgeons to facilitate things. I worry that the managerial practices of Wakemed will lead to a deterioration of surgical services at Rex.”

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