UNC Health Care CEO's memo to staff after NYT exposé

Wesley Burks, MD, CEO of UNC Health Care, sent a five-paragraph email to staff members May 30 in response to an investigative report about the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based system's pediatric heart surgery program, according to NC Health News.

The 7,000-word investigative report published by The New York Times found cardiologists at UNC Children's Hospital expressed serious concerns about the safety and quality of the heart surgery program in 2016. The report has since spurred state health officials to launch an investigation into the hospital. 

"While this program faced culture challenges in the 2016-2017 timeframe, we believe the Times' criticism is overstated and does not consider the quality improvements we've made within this program over many years," Dr. Burks wrote in the email to staff members about the report.

He noted that UNC's pediatric heart program often sees the "most complex and serious cases" in the state and said the hospital is continuously working on quality improvement efforts.

"In addition to process changes, hospital leadership determined that certain personnel changes were required to improve the culture and new physicians and staff were recruited," Dr. Burks wrote.

"We are proud of the pediatric congenital heart surgery program, and our team is currently receiving top results that would place us among the best in the nation," he added.

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