Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest Baptist Health have completed their merger, creating a 42-hospital system with more than 70,000 employees.
With the transaction complete, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest School of Medicine will become the “academic core” of Atrium Health. The health system said it plans to build a second campus of the school of medicine in Charlotte.
“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,” Atrium President and CEO Eugene A. Woods said in a news release. “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.”
Atrium cited an independent economic analysis that showed the direct and indirect annual employment impact of the combined system exceeds 180,000 jobs.
“The impact of the strategic combination will be far-reaching, elevating North Carolina as a clear destination of choice to receive medical care for people all across the nation,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “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.”
Mr. Woods will serve as president and CEO of the combined system, and Dr. Freischlag was appointed chief academic officer for Atrium Health in addition to her current positions.
A 16-member board of directors appointed by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will govern the new nonprofit enterprise.