Last Wednesday, Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolinas HealthCare System (CHCS) announced that it was changing its name to Atrium Health. The next day, it announced that it had signed a letter of intent for Macon, Ga.-based Navicent Health to become part of the health system.
CHCS said the decision to change the name had been made so that the organization would not be limited to a certain geographic area, and estimated that it could take up to two years for the change to be completed across all locations.
The Charlotte Observer noted that the announcement of the name change raised questions as to why the health system would under take such a step while it is negotiating a merger with UNC Health Care System; that merger would create a joint operating company with a new name. In response, CHCS/Atrium said the name change announcement is unrelated to the proposed partnership with UNC Health, and the name of the proposed joint operating company “remains under discussion.”
The goal of the merger with Navicent is for that health system to become the leader of a regional hub for Atrium Health outside of the Carolinas, according to a joint press statement. The LOI will “allow for more detailed discussions to take place, the two systems said. Financial details were not disclosed, but The Charlotte Observer reported that they expect to have a definitive agreement in place later this year.
CHCS/Atrium, a not-for-profit health system, has more than 900 care locations. According to its latest annual report, it owns, manages or has affiliations with 47 hospitals.
Navicent Health system, also a not-for-profit organization, includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, which is a tertiary teaching hospital, a children’s hospital, two rural hospitals, a rehabilitation provider, a palliative and hospice care facility, a continuing care retirement community, and diagnostic and home care services.
Our Take: Wow. Was this a surprise. Under the leadership of Gene Woods, CHCS has been emboldened for growth, and this latest move signals that the organization no longer wants to be limited to the Carolinas. Dare we suggest that Atrium Health will move beyond its role as a regional heavyweight and onto the national scene?
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