Dr. Bill Roper, UNC Health Care CEO, told the UNC Board of Governors this week why he thinks selling Rex is a bad idea.
Roper briefed the UNC system's governing board about the mission, operations and future of a health care system founded in 1879 as a medical school and now a growing statewide health care network. Medical school training has expanded to Asheville and Charlotte, and of course, the system owns Rex Healthcare facilities in Wake County.
That has been the focus of hot debate since May, when WakeMed made a $750 million hostile bid to buy Rex, its Wake County rival.
Roper said "dismembering" UNC Health Care by carving out Rex would hurt the whole system. "This whole enterprise, this integration, is at risk if we start pulling the parts away," he said.
"The sale of Rex would jeopardize our ability to carry out our mission for those folks who have nowhere else to go," Roper added, referring to indigent patients.
Roper also briefed the board about the system's expansion, including a planned 68-bed hospital in Hillsborough.
A few board members asked Roper about the wisdom of such growth. Roper said the industry is experiencing consolidation; he predicted that in a few years there would be a handful of large health care organizations providing most of the care in the state.
"I want us to be one," he said.