In its latest bid to find a partner, Raleigh, N.C.-based Rex Healthcare has signed a letter of intent to become a subsidiary of University of North Carolina-affiliated UNC Health Care, based in Chapel Hill.
The independent not-for-profit Rex, which has a 522-bed hospital that includes a 140-bed nursing home unit, reported net income of $11.9 million on total revenues of $404 million in 1998, according to company figures.
Rex had recently been in talks with several other suitors before announcing the proposed deal with UNC. Rex spokesman Kevin Cain said they included Novant Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, N.C.; CareAlliance Health Services in Charleston, S.C.; and Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Cain said Rex has been seeking a partner to gain access to capital and address the healthcare needs of the area's growing population. Its previous attempts at alliances fell short of the mark.
Becoming part of the UNC organization would give Rex greater access to capital and more sophisticated medical technologies while allowing it to maintain its own identity, Cain said.
Both institutions have agreed not to talk to other potential partners during their negotiations, which are expected to lead to a final agreement by year-end.
The arrangement would make both hospitals more attractive to their communities, said John Stokes, UNC Health Care spokesman. UNC, which has a general acute-care hospital, a women's hospital, a children's hospital, a neurosciences hospital and a cancer center all on one site, already has a teaching relationship with 633-bed Wake Medical Center in Raleigh.