Editorials

UNC Rex Healthcare is on the rise

In Raleigh, people still call it Rex Hospital, but it isn’t that anymore. Since entering the UNC health care system in 2000, it’s formally known as UNC Rex Healthcare.

And the change is in a lot more than the name. The former community hospital has evolved into a major regional medical center. Next year, it will open a $235 million Heart & Vascular Hospital.

In health care these days, hospitals must grow or merge. Technology is too complex and competition too strong for most community hospitals to remain independent. Fortunately for Raleigh residents – and increasingly for people throughout the wider region – Rex has handled that transition well. It has become a top-flight medical center in a region with an abundance of excellent hospitals.

UNC Rex Healthcare president Steve Burriss described the hospital’s evolution and its plans in a meeting with News & Observer reporters and editors last week. Burris said that despite the hospital’s expansion and its efforts to build a broader patient base, the emphasis is on keeping people out of the hospital. Medicine is stressing preventative care, and Medicare is fining hospitals that readmit too many patients.

“We’re going down a path where we’re going to have to be better at keeping people well,” Burriss said.

But when people do get sick or injured, Rex has become a place that’s better equipped than ever to provide complex, high-quality care.

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