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Carolinas HealthCare, UNC Health Care CEOs: Proposed partnership is not to 'increase clout in negotiations with insurance companies'

Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolinas HealthCare System President and CEO Gene Woods and Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health Care System CEO William Roper, MD wrote a response to a recent opinion piece by the editorial board of the News & Observer emphasizing the proposed partnership between the two systems is not to "increase clout in negotiations with insurance companies."

Since the proposed affiliation was made public, the two healthcare leaders have faced challenging questions regarding how the transaction would impact affordability of services and how the joint operation would be structured.  

"There's obviously a lot of questions. This is a complex, major undertaking," Mr. Woods said in a recent board meeting, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

In addition to the numerous questions, many people have expressed concern that the merger will increase negotiating power with insurance companies, leading to both payers and consumers paying more. However, the healthcare leaders reject that clout in negotiations is their main objective. Increasing negotiating power with insurers is "simply not our intent, nor has it been part of our discussions," Mr. Woods and Dr. Roper wrote.

The health system leaders emphasized the partnership is about improving affordability of healthcare. "Fundamentally, this is about extending our mission to more people who need it," Mr. Woods told the Charlotte Business Journal.

If the affiliation is approved, together the two entities would operate nearly 50 hospitals and employ more than 90,000 people.

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