Wayne UNC Health Care President Janie Jaberg knows the CEOs of both Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care.

Both are brilliant leaders who care about the patient, she said.

And while it remains to be seen how the proposed partnership between the two giant health care entities will play out, Jaberg is thrilled at the potential it brings.

But at the same time, she reminds local residents that Wayne UNC Health Care is still a local hospital controlled by a local board. It is managed by UNC Health Care, but is not owned by the system.

"Everybody is always skeptical about these kinds of things because it is change," Jaberg said of the proposal. "But for us, here at our home, things go on with us trying to improve and focusing on improvement, focusing on patient experience, working on our culture and on being the very best we can be in putting patients first.

"We see this as a positive when it is ready, when it is done. We are going to keep doing what we need to be doing. We want our community to know that we are here for them. That sign out front is going to say Wayne UNC."

Carolinas HealthCare System, based in Charlotte, and UNC Health Care, based in Chapel Hill, announced last week their plans to create one of what they say will be the leading non-profit health care systems in the nation, by blending the best of a high-performing comprehensive health care system with a renowned academically based enterprise.

Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care have signed a letter of intent to join their clinical, medical education and research resources.

Under the letter of intent, the two organizations have agreed to start a period of exclusive negotiations, with the goal of entering into final agreements by the end of the year.

The new organization will deliver world-class care to people in North Carolina by creating the most comprehensive network of primary, specialty and on-demand care in the Southeast, according to a press release.

The Federal Trade Commission will review the proposal.

According to the press release, Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care will improve access to care in underserved and rural geographies, jointly addressing behavioral health needs, designing new models of care and further developing virtual care platforms.

The joint organization also will work to expand medical education, serving as the platform for training future healthcare providers. The new organization also will further the development of clinical care destination centers and centers of excellence as well as differentiated care in pediatrics, cancer and transplant services, among others.

Gene Woods, current president and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System, will serve as CEO of the new entity. Dr. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, CEO of UNC Health Care, will be the executive chairman.

It is a partnership, a joint operating company, Jaberg said.

The structure is going to be such that the assets of each organization will remain with those entities, Jaberg said.

Both of them will have a board of trustees or board of directors, and then there will be an overarching board for the new entity, she said.

At some point there will be some division of revenues, but that has not yet been determined.

Each organization will maintain somewhat of their own identities since both are so critically important because of what both have done for the state, she said.

"With the research that UNC has and the other research that Carolinas has, we are going to be able to dovetail and really grow research," she said. "The other thing we can do with this is grow access to care. We are going to have a statewide system to really focus on our patients getting the care they need, getting access to care.

"We have talked about it in board meetings. I think that access to care is critically important, and having the strength of these two organizations will be of utmost help to that."

Looking at a map shows that the two organizations do not really cross each other, she said.

"We cover the whole state in very specific communities so that means that far-reaching opportunity is going to be great," Jaberg said. "The other thing that I think is going to help us -- the buying power of UNC is phenomenal. It has helped us maintain the lowest cost structure that we wouldn't have been able to do before.

"This is going to help it even more. As you know, the more you buy, typically the greater the opportunity for cost savings. But also for us, what I see is the opportunity for more physician engagement and recruitment because we have a great UNC organization that has helped us recruit."

Carolinas HealthCare System will provide access to even more physicians, and more education and more training to recruit to Goldsboro and to Wayne County, she said.

"They know about health care, and they care about patients. They care about rural communities. That is important."

Across the nation health care organizations have realized they can't do it on their own, she said. Joint efforts are needed to help make it through the turbulent waters of health care, and Wayne chose UNC, Jaberg said.

It was the right decision for the community, she said.

"So now Carolinas and UNC are saying these turbulent waters, it will be a whole lot better if we do it together," Jaberg said. "This is not going to be close to the last one that you see across the country."