WakeMed, Rex take buyout bid before legislators

Posted January 23, 2012

— The debate between Triangle hospitals continued Monday with WakeMed asking state lawmakers to take a second look at its offer to buy Rex Hospital from UNC Health Care.

WakeMed made a bid for Rex last year for $750 million, but UNC turned it down, saying Rex is an essential part of its hospital system and medical school.

Rex directly competes with WakeMed in Wake County, and WakeMed CEO Bill Atkinson told lawmakers Monday that that competition is unfair. He said UNC as a state institution is subsidized by taxpayers and gets better reimbursement for Medicaid patients than WakeMed does.

"We don't mind competition as long as it's a level playing field. But when you're competing against the government, it's not a level playing field," Atkinson said.

The state has a law, the Umstead Act, that prohibits the government from competing with private businesses, but it doesn't apply to the UNC system.

UNC officials say taxpayers aren't subsidizing the hospital system and that it's the other way around. The hospital system contributed $105 million last year to help offset the cost of the UNC School of Medicine.

They say WakeMed is just trying to slow down competition from Rex, especially in profitable areas like cardiology. A group of cardiologists left WakeMed and moved to Rex in 2010.

WakeMed, Rex take buyout bid before lawmakers WakeMed, Rex take buyout bid before lawmakers


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  • YourConscience Jan 24, 2012

    If my republican representative votes for this merger, he will not receive my vote come election day. Mark my words. Hate to remind you legislatures again but, do whats best for your constituents, not whats best for your pocketbook. PLEASE!!

  • donnawakeforest Jan 24, 2012

    NO! NO!! NO!!! 100,000 times NO! Wake County citizens do NOT want this "buy out" of our healthcare! Wake Med used this same argument, in reverse, to convince the Wake Co. Commissioners to release them from County ownership not too long ago. Now they are still claiming unfair competition. Perhaps the offer should be for Rex to buy out Wake Med if they cannot succeed on their own!

  • pUnKiSh Jan 24, 2012

    This would be terrible for military families and retirees! WakeMed no longer accepts Tricare and Rex is the alternative (and far better in my opinion) for hospital care. If WakeMed buys Rex then where can military retirees and families go in Raleigh?

  • vincentwilliam794 Jan 24, 2012

    And those who have Aetna insurance, are out, because it is not taken there...had my surgery just in time. Aetna and hospital could not come up with a contract. Expect a lot higher cost of medical treatments.

  • Iconoclast Jan 24, 2012

    If Wake Med has 750 million lying around to buy Rex, the "unfair" competition must not be hurting them too bad. Wonder how high our bills would be without the competition?

  • TimeWillTell Jan 24, 2012

    Level the playing field if need be, but allowing this WakeMed to buy Rex will inevitably lead to higher costs for patients and loss of jobs for employees.

    The News & Observer reports that Republican legislators are receptive to WakeMed arguments. Not good.

  • Scubagirl Jan 23, 2012

    Wake Med needs to GIVE IT UP. They are the only ones who want this 'deal' to occur.