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UNC Rex, Johnston Health approve plan to expand partnership

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SMITHFIELD— UNC Rex Healthcare and Johnston Health have approved a non-binding letter of intent to combine operations through a joint operating agreement.

This proposed partnership will expand the organizations’ long history of collaboration to enhance care, improve outcomes and increase access for patients in Johnston and Wake counties, according to the hospital systems.

“It’s no secret that the health care landscape is constantly changing, and expanding our relationship with Johnston Health offers us an opportunity to better serve patients,” said Steve Burriss, president of UNC Rex. “We look forward to further discussions with our colleagues at Johnston Health as we work out details of our proposed partnership.”

The boards of Johnston Health and UNC Rex have signed off on the letter of intent. A more formal partnership is expected to be finalized in the coming months.

“Recognizing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, Johnston Health, UNC Rex and UNC Health Care have been working together during the past year to identify ways that we can ensure our organizations will be poised to continue to provide quality care for our patients, secure employment opportunities for our co-workers and contribute to the economic growth in our communities,” said Chuck Elliott, CEO of Johnston Health.

In early 2014, Johnston Health formed a joint venture with UNC Health Care, a partnership that hospital executives say has improved area residents’ health and wellness. That included opening a 50-bed community hospital on Johnston Health’s Clayton campus in 2015 and recruiting new physicians and other providers.

The new agreement will expand that relationship to create new opportunities for adding specialized medical care and services closer to home for patients in Johnston and Wake counties. The tentative agreement calls for a long-term commitment to opening new medical facilities in Johnston County, expanding clinical services offered and more.