Investigation finds UNC Health Care board shuttles members to meetings by private jet  

Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health Care leadership often flies to meetings by private jet, according to an investigation by local news station WBTV. The investigation also uncovered that UNC Health Care Board Chairman Charles Owen III did not disclose potential conflicts of interest. 

The news station looked into the board after finding former UNC Health Care System CEO William Roper, MD, failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest on state ethics forms for many years. 

The latest investigation found Mr. Owen and other board members and health system executives often traveled to board meetings with UNC Air Operations, a flight service for transporting medical specialists to hospitals throughout the state as needed, according to the report. In the first nine months of 2019, the board spent $50,000 on private jet travel and executives had spent about $66,000, according to the report. 

UNC Health Care spokesperson Phil Bridges told WBTV that the air travel is more cost-effective because the board is able to hold its meetings on one day, rather than two, which eliminates costs associated with hotel stays. "Any flights attributable to UNC Health Care are paid for through non-state appropriated funds. UNC Health Care does not receive state general fund dollars," his statement said, according to the report.   

The investigation also found the board chairman, Mr. Owen, did not report his relationship to Avadim, a company funding research at UNC's medical school. 

Mr. Bridges told WBTV the Avadim-funded clinical trial is being conducted by UNC School of Medicine, which is part of the university and not the health system. "This is an important distinction," he said, according to the report. 

Read the full story here.


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