Atrium Health CEO: Goal of failed UNC Health Care merger was to create a 'clinical powerhouse'

Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health CEO Eugene Woods spoke publicly for the first time March 13 about the health system's failed merger with Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health Care, stating the proposed deal was in response to the changing healthcare environment, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

During the health system's quarterly board meeting March 13, Mr. Woods said he viewed 2017 as the beginning of a new era in the healthcare industry, one that created "a really significant shift" in the way the industry will come to operate, according to the report.

The decision by many mega-insurers to step into the ring has made it even more critical for systems like Atrium Health to remain focused on providing adequate care to patients in rural markets and attracting the next generation of clinicians to work at Atrium's more than 900 care locations, he said. Those goals were a fundamental part of the system's discussions with UNC Health Care.

"That really was at the core of our focus and creating a clinical powerhouse for North Carolina," Mr. Woods said of the proposed combination, which the health systems suspended earlier this month.

However, Mr. Woods said the system will "keep the door open" regarding a potential combination with UNC, the report states.

During the meeting, officials also provided a financial overview of the health system for 2017. Atrium reported a net income of more than $1 billion across the organization in 2017. In 2016, the health system ended the year with a net income of $529.6 million and operating income of $264 million, a roughly 2.7 percent increase from 2015, according to the report.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Atrium Health for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available.

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