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WakeMed establishes new surgery practice in Harnett County

WakeMed Health & Hospitals announced Monday that it is adding a general surgery practice in Harnett County next month.

The practice, called Harnett Surgical Associates, is being formed by two doctors, Tommy Chang and Sandy Hawkins-Rivers, who previously were a part of Village Surgical Associates in Dunn.

That office will close next month but the new practice will retain the same phone number.

Hospital Bills Vary Around Triangle

Our series on hospitals began today. There's one online element that we couldn't put in the newspaper. Go here to see a hospital bill that shows how charges range all over the place at Triangle hospitals. A day in a cardiac intensive care room can bring a charge of $730,  or $3265, depending on what hospital you're in.  A chest x-ray? Anywhere from $98 to $394.

Read more here:

UNC, things have changed

Reporter John Frank was at the meeting of  the House Select Committee on State Assets, which was discussing whether UNC Health Care should own Rex Hospital, among other things. By John's account, it was not a very comfortable meeting for the UNC Health Care brass. Read his Dome post

Recently, reporter Jane Stancill wrote a story talking about how the UNC system had lost a lot of its allies in the legislature. Her story and John's reporting today are connected.

WakeMed property gift and purchase will allow for future expansion of Raleigh campus

WakeMed Health & Hospitals announced today that the family of Clarence and Alice Aycock Poe have donated the Longview House, also known as the Poe House, and two acres on which it sits.

WakeMed has also purchased an additional 13.5 acres of adjacent land where it expects to eventually expand its Raleigh campus off New Bern Avenue. The hospital system paid $4 million for the land last month.

WakeMed CEO Bill Atkinson said in a release that the hospital doesn't have any specific plans for the Poe property at the moment.

Clarence Poe was a notable civic leader and founder of The Progressive Farmer, once one of the South's most influential publications.

WakeMed to open new Brier Creek health center on Friday

WakeMed Health & Hospitals will open its sixth emergency department in the county on Friday in the Brier Creek area of northwest Raleigh.

The 50,000-square-foot Brier Creek Healthplex includes an emergency department with 12 private treatment rooms, diagnostic imaging, lab services and physicians offices, including a Wake Orthopedics office.

Friday's event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The first 500 visitors get a free first aid kit.

The center is located just off U.S. 70 at 8001 T.W. Alexander Drive.

WakeMed and Rex announce new affiliations with medical practices

WakeMed and Rex Healthcare announced new affiliations with medical groups today.

The Carolina Cardiovascular Surgical Associates is joining WakeMed's Wake Speciality Physicians Network while the Clinton Medical Clinic is joining the Triangle Physician Network, a joint network operated by Rex Healthcare and the UNC Health Care System.

CCSA includes four doctors and is led by W. Charles Helton.

The Clinton Medical Clinic has a staff of more than 65 that serves eastern North Carolina communities in Sampson and other surrounding counties.

Today's announcements are part of a trend of medical practices aligning themselves with large health care systems.

Area hospitals continue their fight over new beds

Three of the state's largest health systems are carrying their battle over hospital beds into overtime.

Earlier this month, regulators approved Rex Healthcare's plan to build a 50-bed hospital in Holly Springs and add a new tower on its main Raleigh campus for a heart and stroke facility. They also said WakeMed could add 51 beds — 22 at its Cary campus and 29 at its main campus on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh.

But regulators with the Department of Health and Human Services denied Rex's request to build a 40-bed hospital in Wakefield and WakeMed's application to add 79 beds on its main Raleigh campus.  And Winston-Salem-based Novant, which has been trying to enter the lucrative Triangle health care market, was shut out completely. It had hoped to put a 50-bed hospital in Holly Springs.

Now all three are appealing the ruling, a move that sets up a long legal fight that could postpone a final decision for several years.

UNC Health Care fires back: Makes public records request of WakeMed

The UNC Health Care System appears to be taking a more aggressive stance in its ongoing dispute with WakeMed over the future of Rex Healthcare.

Last week, the UNC Health Care System, which owns Rex, sent a public records request to WakeMed asking for minutes from Board of Directors meetings, agendas for those meetings and annual financial audits for the hospital system.

UNC wants documents dating back to Jan. 1, 2009.

WakeMed made a public records request of UNC last winter, seeking records such as the university system’s correspondence with Wake County doctors.

This latest request by UNC is further evidence that the dispute between the two hospital systems shows no signs of dissipating.

Rex Healthcare forming new heart practice

Two cardiothoracic surgeons are leaving Carolina Cardiovascular Surgical Associates to form a new practice affiliated with Rex Healthcare.

The two surgeons, Lance E. Landvater and Robert B. Peyton, are the latest Wake County doctors to change affiliations, moves that are being driven by both competition between and Rex and federal health care reform.

The two were part of an 8-surgeon team at Carolina Cardiovascular Surgical Associates. The practice is based at WakeMed but the group's surgeons have privileges to operate at both hospitals.

Landvater and Peyton will be co-medical directors of the new Rex practice, to be called Rex Cardiothoracic Surgery Specialists.

Blue Cross adding customer service reps at WakeMed's Raleigh campus

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and WakeMed have expanded their relationship at WakeMed's Raleigh campus on New Bern Avenue.

Under a new pilot program, BCBS will have customer service people on site during the week to assist patients and case managers.

It's the first time BCBS has placed customer service employees in a hospital to help with claims and benefits.       

Previous versions of the on-site service model involved BCBS professionals working with hospital billing departments to help answer patient questions.

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