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Atrium, Advocate Aurora complete merger

Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health closed on their formal combination Dec. 2, resulting in a newly combined $27 billion, 67-hospital system called Advocate Health — the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. 

Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium and Advocate Aurora, dually headquartered in Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill., announced their plan to combine May 11. Geographically, the Charlotte-based combined system reflects something close to a crooked semicolon, with footprints in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. 

Atrium President and CEO Eugene Woods and Advocate Aurora President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh will lead the combined health system as co-CEOs for the first 18 months. From then, Mr. Skogsbergh will retire and Mr. Woods will become the sole CEO. The board of directors is made up of an equal number of members from Advocate Aurora and Atrium Health.

"Powered by 150,000 teammates — including the best and brightest physicians, nurses, researchers and faculty — we are poised to push past traditional geographic and care delivery boundaries to create a healthier tomorrow for all," Mr. Woods said. He has led Atrium since 2016.

"We couldn't be more pleased to bring our organizations together to do more, be better and go faster to help more people live well while training the next generation of healthcare professionals," Mr. Skogsbergh said. He co-led Advocate Aurora since its formation in 2018, assuming the sole president and CEO role in 2019. Before that, he led Advocate Health Care as president and CEO since 2002. 

News of the systems completing their combination came one day after North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein signed off on the merger. 

"My office has conducted a thorough review into this transaction and concluded that there is no legal basis to prevent it," Mr. Stein said in a statement. He credited Atrium for responding to "numerous inquiries" and said his office will continue to monitor the combined system's operations and impact on North Carolinians' health, taking action if necessary.

"This will create one of the most effective large systems in the country," Becker's Healthcare Publisher Scott Becker said. "It both brings together two great systems and two exceptional leaders in Jim Skogsbergh and Gene Woods. This merger may also be the clearest indication that bigger systems are needed to provide care and offset the power of the payers."


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