GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN)- UNC Health Care says there is "no plan, secret or otherwise" to takover Vidant Health.
The hospital system released a statement a day after WITN aired confidential documents showing that the system had conducted research on what a takeover of Vidant Health might look like.
UNC Health Care's statement claims that reporting is inaccurate, and says: "The leaked document was prepared by a consulting firm hired by the UNC Board of Governors to illustrate and educate them on what the consolidating health care market might look like in the future. It was not prepared to evaluate partners or to pursue new partners."
Inside the document, phrases like "UNC-HC would take dominant position in governance, deal terms, etc." can be found in reference to ECU Physicians and Vidant Health.
The statement from UNC Health Care goes on to say that the system has had several conversations with Vidant CEO Mike Waldrum and the Board of Governors in the past about the possibility of combining with UNC Health Care. The statement says that based on these conversations, UNC Health Care has never pursued it.
On Thursday, Waldrum was on the radio program "Talk of the Town" where he said that he believes UNC Health Care is trying to come in and take over Vidant Medical Center and Vidant Health.
You can read the whole UNC Health Care statement below:
CHAPEL HILL, NC – UNC Health Care spokesperson Lisa Schiller released a statement following inaccurate news reports about negotiations with Vidant Health:
"UNC Health Care has no plan, secret or otherwise, to acquire or partner with Vidant Health. Even if there were plans, secrecy would be impossible. A combination of UNC Health Care and Vidant Health would require the approval of multiple public entities and boards. It would also require a public bidding process under State law.
"Like all hospital systems, the UNC Health Care System is keenly aware of the rapid consolidation occurring across the country. All systems look frequently to consider potential partners. The leaked document was prepared by a consulting firm hired by the UNC Board of Governors to illustrate and educate them on what the consolidating health care market might look like in the future. It was not prepared to evaluate partners or to pursue new partners.
"UNC Health Care has had numerous conversations with Vidant's CEO Mike Waldrum and his leadership about the potential to work together to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of eastern North Carolina. None of these conversations discussed mergers or take overs. UNC Health has the responsibility, through the North Carolina General Statutes and its mission to offer care to all of the citizens of North Carolina – not one region over another. In addition, Mike Waldrum has talked with the UNC System and members of the Board of Governors in the past about the possibility of combining with UNC Health Care. Based on these conversations, UNC Health Care has never pursued it. As the rapid pace of health care changes, we wish Vidant Health success as they negotiate this landscape."
A confidential report suggests the University of North Carolina System has discussed plans to take over Vidant Health and ECU Physicians.
WITN obtained the report this afternoon from a reliable source.
It contains documents, discussions, and scenarios that, "UNC Health Care would take dominant position in governance, deal terms, etc".
The report was created by a firm that specializes in acquisitions and mergers which was hired by UNC in 2017.
An agenda dated January 29, 2019 lists the following topics of discussion:
• UNC-HC Strategy
1. UNC-HC to present their detailed strategy plans to Board of Governors Health Care Committee
• ECU/Brody School of Medicine Strategy
• UNC M&A/Growth
1. Cain Brothers to outline vision of potential outcomes that M&A activity for UNC-HC and ECUP could produce including:
• Small to mid-sized systems in NC
• Large system merger; which could cross state lines
• SE region “mega-system” that could include multiple AMCs (a “system of systems”)
The report also documented similar outlines plans that date as far back as August 2018.
Earlier Thursday, UNC System chair Harry Smith told WITN that they were not trying to takeover Vidant. Reached late this afternoon, Smith reiterated his stance.
The CEO of Vidant Health believes that the state wants to merge Vidant with UNC Health Care, a claim the head of the UNC System board believes is "fearmongering".
The revelation came this morning during an interview with Henry Hinton on his radio program "Talk of the Town".
Dr. Mike Waldrum was being interviewed about the recent lawsuit surrounding efforts by Vidant to remove UNC System members from the hospital board as well as word that the state Senate has proposed cutting $35 million dollars from Vidant's funding because of the move.
Here's what was said during this morning's show:
Hinton: Do you believe that there is a bigger plan in place here -- that UNC hospitals want to come in and take over Vidant Medical Center and Vidant Health.
Hinton: You do believe that?
Waldrum: Yeah, I think they've made it very clear
Hinton: So you think this is part of that
Waldrum: I think you look at the facts you described and other facts that we know, and the things that have been told to us by them that yes there's an expressed intent and that's the issue...
Afterward, UNC System Board of Governors chair Harry Smith told WITN that concern is not true at all.
"There are no plans in any shape or form for UNC Health to take over Vidant," Smith said, "It's my opinion that UNC Health Care taking over Vidant is 100% fear mongering."
"What we're trying to do is protect the Brody School of Medicine and investment of state tax dollars."