What We Have Heard From Wake County

In recent weeks, we’ve posted excerpts on this blog (here and here) from comments the UNC Health Care Board of Directors received from Wake County’s citizens about WakeMed’s proposal to purchase Rex Healthcare. Since those blog entries were posted, we’ve received some questions about whether or not they provide a representative sample. The short answer to that question is yes, but to help our blog readers better understand what we have heard from the community, we are posting all of the portal comments we’ve received – more than 1,300 – here.

All names and personal information have been redacted to protect the privacy of the people who spoke out. We also have redacted comments that were considered inflammatory. We still want to know what the people of Wake County think about the partnership between UNC Health Care and Rex Healthcare, so please take a moment to share your views here.

Setting the Record Straight

In recent interviews, officials at WakeMed have spread inaccurate information about new heart health services that will soon be available at Rex Healthcare’s main campus.

The Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, which won approval from state regulators in late September, will consolidate and streamline services that Rex has offered its patients for years. It is necessary to help Rex meet the growing demand for these services. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in North Carolina, and Wake County’s population is aging and growing. North Carolina’s state regulators, and Rex Healthcare, have determined that more services should be available in Wake County to meet this growing patient need.

What’s more, these WakeMed officials continue to misrepresent the facts surrounding UNC Health Care System’s relationships with physicians. To be clear, Rex Healthcare has never received any taxpayer funds. UNC Health Care and Rex Healthcare have successfully affiliated with many of the top physician practice groups in the Triangle – a success we believe is a direct result of the way we work with doctors and a shared vision for the future of patient care in Wake County.

Additionally, despite their charges to the contrary, it is important to remember that WakeMed is not a private hospital in the traditional sense. WakeMed was founded as a county hospital and owned by Wake County. It was transferred from Wake County, at no cost, to a non-profit corporation and assumed an obligation to provide charity care for Wake County citizens. When this transaction was made, Wake County retained the right to appoint the majority (8-14) of the WakeMed Board of Directors. WakeMed is still under government oversight.

UNC Health Care Requests Public Records From WakeMed

For the past year, UNC Health Care has answered all questions asked of us and throughout, remained transparent. At the same time, WakeMed has done nothing to back up their claims. Even though we asked on numerous occasions, they were unwilling to provide any information about the care they provide Wake County citizens, their business operations, and how limiting choice will improve quality of care or reduce costs for Wake County citizens.

We want to be open and honest about our operations with the communities we serve and we hope that WakeMed will do the same for the citizens of Wake County.

Last week, UNC Health Care issued a public records request for the following information from WakeMed — information which the community is entitled to given their legal status as a public agency:

  1. Minutes of all meetings of the WakeMed Board of Directors since January 1, 2009.
  2. Agendas for all meetings of the WakeMed Board of Directors, and all materials provided to the Board in conjunction with such agendas, since January 1, 2009.
  3. Any annual financial audits of WakeMed, Inc. submitted to Wake County as required by the Transfer Agreement between Wake County and Wake County Hospital System, Inc.

You can view our request for WakeMed’s records here.

We look forward to WakeMed’s response to these requests.