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Move signifies commitment to long-term regional partnership and important work to advance quality of care and increase access to healthcare services in Robeson County and surrounding region

LUMBERTON, N.C. and CHAPEL HILL, N.C., October 14, 2020 – Southeastern Health and UNC Health are pleased to share approval of a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) for the two organizations to enter into a long-term comprehensive Management Services Agreement (MSA).

The proposed agreement will culminate in Southeastern Health becoming the 12th member of the UNC Health system and will closely align the organizations as they work together to enhance quality and ensure strong local access to healthcare in Robeson County and the surrounding region. Southeastern Health intends to co-brand with UNC Health as UNC Health Southeastern. UNC Health is North Carolina’s leading public academic healthcare system and includes 11 hospitals and hundreds of clinics throughout the state.

Last year, Southeastern Health announced that the Board of Trustees had begun a partnership exploration process to chart the best path forward for the organization and for the future of healthcare in the communities served by Southeastern. After pausing its process for a period of time due to COVID-19, the Southeastern Board resumed its thoughtful, deliberate work and has determined that closely aligning with UNC Health will move healthcare forward in important ways for the people of Robeson County and surrounding communities.

“The Southeastern Board of Trustees set out to find a partner who can help make healthcare even better for the people we serve,” said Kenneth Rust, Chair of the Southeastern Health Board of Trustees. “Importantly, UNC Health shares our values and commitment to providing quality, compassionate and strong local healthcare, making a long-term regional partnership a natural fit for both organizations.”

Aligning with North Carolina’s leading public academic health system will allow Southeastern Health to become an even stronger regional healthcare leader, providing enhanced opportunities to recruit and retain additional highly-skilled physicians and other caregivers to the area, maintain and grow the services Southeastern offers today while keeping care local, and positively impacting the health and wellbeing of the communities it serves. Southeastern will benefit from the scale and expertise of UNC Health in areas such as clinical and organizational development initiatives, purchasing agreements, access to clinical and operational subject matter experts, and more.

“We have tremendous respect for Southeastern Health. We admire what they are doing to advance healthcare in rural North Carolina and look forward to achieving even more together to improve the health and wellness of the communities Southeastern serves,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health. “UNC Health knows the value of partnering with rural and community hospitals to keep care local by expanding access to healthcare providers and services close to home. Formally aligning with Southeastern Health is a natural fit and advances our mission of serving all North Carolinians.”

Over the course of Southeastern Health’s deliberate and thorough process it became clear that UNC Health was the natural and best fit for the organization.

“UNC Health believes in and supports the Southeastern mission to provide quality, regional healthcare in a safe, compassionate and efficient environment,” Rust said. “Southeastern Health has deep ties to the community and UNC Health is committed to helping advance the health and wellbeing of the region while providing a more coordinated experience and ensuring continuity of care for patients.”

Of particular interest to the Board was UNC Health’s strides in rural healthcare and population health throughout North Carolina.

“UNC Health has a deep understanding of rural healthcare and the challenges associated with delivering care in that environment,” said Southeastern Health President and CEO, Joann Anderson. “In the past decade, UNC Health has partnered with smaller hospitals across the state to improve care in those regions and we look forward to working very closely with them here in our part of the state.”

Importantly, Southeastern will benefit from UNC Health’s existing population health management strategy and commitment to addressing health disparities with innovative, patient-centered solutions. “While this is an exciting milestone, we still have more work to do on the details of the proposed comprehensive Management Services Agreement,” said Anderson. “As this work continues, Southeastern Health remains focused on delivering on its mission to provide quality regional healthcare in a safe, compassionate and efficient environment.”

The names of Southeastern Health’s locations will continue and will be co-branded to reflect the partnership with UNC Health.

Signing the non-binding LOI is an important step in the process for Southeastern Health to move toward aligning with UNC Health. Pending further Board approvals and standard regulatory review, the organizations hope to finalize the agreement later this year.

To learn more about our proposed regional partnership, see frequently asked questions and answers, submit a question, and review ongoing updates, please visit


Southeastern Health media contact: Amanda Crabtree, (910) 671-5499,

UNC Health media contact: Alan Wolf, (919) 218-7103, 


About Southeastern Health

Southeastern Health, a non-profit organization, is a comprehensive health care system which offers a wide array of health care services through its affiliated divisions. Southeastern Health is licensed for 452 beds and includes Southeastern Regional Medical Center, a DNV GL-Healthcare accredited hospital, which offers a combination of acute care, intensive care and psychiatric services to more than 15,000 inpatients and 61,000 emergency patients annually.

About UNC Health

UNC Health is an integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care.

UNC Health is comprised of UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill, ranked consistently among the best medical centers in the country; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; Pardee UNC Health Care in Hendersonville; Chatham Hospital in Siler City; Johnston Health in Clayton and Smithfield; UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston; Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro; Caldwell UNC Health Care in Lenoir; Nash UNC Health Care in Rocky Mount; UNC Rockingham Health Care in Eden, Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, UNC REX Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County; and the UNC Physicians Network.

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