When you think of a state-owned hospital, what comes to mind? For most, it is probably mission – a mission to serve the citizens of our state regardless of the ability to pay. It is likely a vision of a hospital that adds specialties and services in response to community need, and it is a hospital that helps solve community health issues.
In the Triangle healthcare market, there are two state-owned hospitals; one of which lives up to the assumptions made above and one that does not. UNC Health Care’s Chapel Hill Hospital looks and acts like a state-owned, publicly supported hospital should. Rex Healthcare in Wake County does not.
Wake County deserves a state-owned hospital that does not spend millions of dollars to duplicate services that are already available in Wake County, especially when the duplication threatens the ability of the private, not-for-profit hospital to provide the vast majority (80%) of charity care in the county. And, speaking of indigent care, shouldn’t a state-owned hospital be shouldering more of the indigent care load for the community it serves?
Unfortunately, the majority of profits generated by Rex don’t support the healthcare needs in Wake County. These profits are not being reinvested in our community, instead they funneled to Chapel Hill inequitably subsidizing the state’s mission of providing health care to North Carolina’s citizens. This is happening when there are unmet healthcare needs right here in Wake County.
Additionally, the state of North Carolina should not be using public money via Rex Healthcare to compete with private not-for-profit healthcare systems like WakeMed – especially when that health care system gives back so much to the communities it serves in the form of education, charity care, employment, and so much more.
Competition is not the issue. It is the unfair advantages afforded to state-owned hospitals through higher reimbursement rates and access to capital through the state legislature.
Citizens of Wake County and the state should expect and deserve more from its state-owned hospitals.
To learn more about these issues, please visit www.thewakemedxray.com