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Atrium Health suspends merger negotiations with UNC Health Care

Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health issued a statement March 2 stating the health system has suspended merger discussions with Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health Care.

Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods informed UNC Health Care's leadership of the health system's decision in a letter March 2, according to the statement.

"In our letter sent to UNC Health Care today, we informed them that while we have not been able to reach an agreement, our respect for UNC Health Care, its team and UNC Health Care's accomplishments has grown through this process. Their desire to work collaboratively to improve the health of every North Carolinian is something we highly value and to which we are also committed," Mr. Woods wrote.

The statement said Atrium Health officials remain "committed to the patients and communities of North Carolina more than ever" and remain "committed to creating an organization that will serve more people in better ways and enhancing our ability to address our state's most pressing issues including rural care, behavioral health and affordability."

"We have agreed that the best path forward for both organizations is to identify specific opportunities to work together, as we have previously, to improve healthcare across the state and region. Though we will not form a joint operating company, UNC Health Care and Atrium Health will continue to partner on important issues such as improving rural health care and expanding medical education," UNC Health Care said in a March 2 statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

"We would like to express our gratitude to the leadership teams at Atrium Health, UNC Health Care, and the UNC School of Medicine for the time and effort spent working on the joint operating company proposal."

The decision to table negotiations comes roughly one week after executives at both health systems expressed frustration over issues of control over the proposed merged entity. William L. Roper, MD, CEO of UNC Health Care and dean of the UNC School of Medicine, provided an update about the organizations' negotiations Feb. 20, stating both organizations were working closely together to discuss issues of control and how to ensure both entities' desires were represented fairly throughout the process.

To access Atrium Health's full statement, click here.

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