Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest School of Medicine completed their merger, the North Carolina-based not-for-profit organizations announced Friday.

The combined entity is comprised of 70,000 employees, 42 hospitals and around 1,500 care locations that generate more than $11 billion in annual operating revenue. Executives aim to bolster their pipeline of medical professionals with a second Wake Forest School of Medicine campus in Charlotte as well as expand their population health efforts, among other goals.

“As the healthcare field goes through the most transformative period in our lifetime, in addition to a new medical school, our vision is to build a ‘Silicon Valley’ for healthcare innovation spanning from Winston-Salem to Charlotte,” Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health, said in prepared remarks. “We are creating a nationally-leading environment for clinicians, scientists, investors and visionaries to collaborate on breakthrough technologies and cures. Everything we do will be focused on life changing care, for all, in urban and rural communities alike. And we will create jobs that provide inclusive opportunities to enhance the economic vitality of our entire region.”

Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine, has been named the chief academic officer of Atrium Health. Edward Brown, the current board chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, will lead the 16-member board appointed by the CMHA and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, which will oversee the newly formed not-for-profit corporation, Atrium Health, Inc.

“Through our combined, nationally recognized clinical centers of excellence in multiple specialties, we will be able to expand our research in signature areas, such as cancer, cardiovascular, regenerative medicine and aging, and target bringing research breakthroughs to the community in less than half the time of the national average,” Freischlag said in prepared remarks.

The combined institution plans to build a new eye institute and construct a new critical care, emergency department and surgery tower at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Atrium will also expand its virtual care and behavioral health capacity and grow its research related to Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and vascular disease.

Through the first half of the 2020 fiscal year, Atrium reported a $225 million operating loss on $2.96 billion of operating revenue, although that was offset by nearly $232 million in federal COVID-19 relief grants, according to Modern Healthcare’s financial database. That compared to a $168.3 million operating income on $3.21 billion of operating revenue in the same prior period.

Atrium reported $386.4 million of operating income on $7.48 billion of revenue in the 2019 fiscal year.

Through the fiscal year ended June 30, Wake Forest Baptist reported $40.6 million of operating income on $3.61 billion of operating revenue, up from a $1.84 million loss on $3.38 billion of operating revenue the prior year.


Source: Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health complete merger

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