WakeMed News Releases

May 20, 2011
Pending WakeMed Purchase of Rex, WakeMed Proposes Solution for Mental Health Care in Wake County

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 19, 2011) – Yesterday, WakeMed Health & Hospitals Board of Directors announced it has authorized an investment of $50 million to develop between 40 and 60 mental health beds in Wake County. This investment is contingent on the purchase of Rex Healthcare by WakeMed.

Mental health is an issue that affects the entire community, and necessitates a community solution. If the proposed purchase of Rex by WakeMed is approved, WakeMed will be in a much better position to take a leadership role to address mental health care needs in our community.

As Dr. Bill Atkinson, president and CEO, WakeMed expressed in a letter delivered yesterday to Governor Beverly Perdue, President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker Thom Tillis, “The un- and underinsured in our community are not the only populations at risk of being underserved. There is a mental health crisis in Wake County, and there promises to be an even more urgent need if Dorothea Dix Hospital closes this year as scheduled. WakeMed has tried to work together with the county and other hospital systems to address this community issue. Unfortunately, no viable mental health care solution has been proposed to date, and given WakeMed’s current indigent care burden, we are not in a position to shoulder mental health care alone.”

The WakeMed offer to purchase Rex Healthcare from the University of North Carolina was proposed in a letter of intent delivered to President Tom Ross dated May 11. WakeMed made the offer to purchase in the best interest of the community, patients and the state. A combined WakeMed/Rex system has the potential to save money by eliminating unnecessary duplication of services. A combined system will also enhance continuity of care, keep resources local and patients closer to home, and ultimately better address complex issues like mental health.

Atkinson continued in the letter to Governor Beverly Perdue, President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker Thom Tillis, “For 50 years, WakeMed has proudly provided the vast majority of charity care in Wake County. In fact, according to data compiled by the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance (DMA), WakeMed is one of the leading providers of uncompensated care for the un- and underinsured in the state, and we do it with no taxpayer support. Rex Healthcare, a state-owned hospital, does not provide its fair share of charity care to our community or the state. WakeMed is also increasingly concerned that a government-subsidized, unlevel competitive landscape will cripple WakeMed’s ability to deliver on its mission of caring for all, regardless of the ability to pay.”

For more information and timely updates on WakeMed’s purchase of Rex Hospital, visit www.thewakemedxray.com

About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. The 870-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs. WakeMed’s team of 7,750 employees, 1,000 volunteers and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies to ensure the finest in health care. For more information, visit www.wakemed.org.

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