The UNC Health Care System made a plea to lawmakers Thursday asking them not to sell Rex Healthcare after WakeMed's unsolicited $750 million bid earlier this year.
A legislative panel looking to identify and sell surplus state assets considered the contentious issue but took no action.
In his presentation, Dr. Bill Roper, the CEO of UNC Health Care, listed all the reasons why a UNC committee rejected WakeMed's takeover bid, suggesting that Rex is critical to its mission.
Rep. Bill Brawley asked Roper if UNC needed to own a hospital in order to train future doctors.
"We don’t have to own a hospital," Roper responded. "There are some medical schools that don’t. Those med schools that don’t own a hospital are in much worse shape than we are."
Roper did make it clear that selling Rex could cost the state more money in the long run. The system gets $18 million in state appropriations in the current budget. "I can promise you … if God forbid you force us to sell Rex we would definitely be back here next year asking for a whole lot more money from the state," he said.
WakeMed did not get a chance to present its case to the committee. "WakeMed is not a government property," committee Chairman Harold Brubaker explained afterward.