Hospital workers - not state government employees
The more than 2,000 employees of High Point Regional are now part of a health system under the banner of the University of North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean they have become state government workers.
High Point Regional Health System and UNC Health Care completed their historic merger at the first of this month. High Point Regional UNC Health Care President Jeff Miller said the merged health system is sticking with a pledge to maintain the current level of the local work force for a year after the merger.
When the merger was announced this past fall, officials with both health systems said they wouldn’t lay off staff or change pay and benefits of High Point Regional workers for the first year of the merger.
While High Point Regional’s 2,200 workers are now part of UNC Health Care, they aren’t state government workers, Miller told The High Point Enterprise.
“The way this agreement is structured, we are becoming a sole member of UNC Health Care. And we’ll be treated as a wholly owned subsidiary of UNC Health Care. High Point Regional will still have its own tax-exempt status,” Miller said.
If High Point Regional employees had become public government workers, they would qualify for benefits such as the state retirement system. But if they had become state workers, the annual wages and salaries of all High Point Regional UNC Health Care employees would have become a public record for coworkers, friends or anyone else to see.
The legal precedent was set 13 years ago for hospital workers with UNC Health Care affiliate medical centers to not become state government employees. When Rex Healthcare Inc. of Raleigh merged with UNC Health Care, the N.C. Attorney General’s Office provided an opinion that stated Rex employees wouldn’t become public government workers.
“Those people that are employed by UNC hospitals and the university are state employees. Nobody else is,” said Karen McCall, vice president of public affairs and marketing with UNC Health Care. “Our legal entity, as a state entity, does not carry over to institutions that affiliate with us.”
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Approximately 9,400 employees of the UNC Health Care system are state government workers. Another 8,750 employees of affiliate hospitals and medical centers, which includes High Point Regional UNC Health Care, aren’t public government workers.
Source: UNC Health Care