Navicent Health hospital

News | 4 years ago

The Evolution of Healthcare and Why You Can’t Go It Alone

Atrium Health and Navicent Health join to carry forward the mission of enhancing access to healthcare, improving affordability and ensuring the equity of care for individuals across the Carolinas and central and south Georgia.

By Ninfa M. Saunders, DHA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Navicent Health 
Ninfa Saunders headshot
Change is one of healthcare’s only certainties, and its pace is only picking up. The winds of change are swirling across the healthcare landscape like never before. In 2017, we saw an unprecedented year of transformation and reaction to the forces propelling healthcare forward, and with recent announcements, 2018 is certain to best last year. 

As the president of a leading regional healthcare system, I see firsthand the challenges and unknowns midsize healthcare systems across the country are facing. We’re entering unexplored territories that require us to think differently, react differently and move forward into an uncharted future. As we continue to respond to inevitable change, our commitment to the real reason we’re here must not waiver: to make care accessible, affordable and equitable for the people and  communities we serve. 

To keep these commitments to our patients, communities and employees, we must continually examine our operations and how we’re managing our resources. It’s no secret that healthcare systems are partnering with like-minded organizations to achieve long-term stability and advance high-value care. Critical to this effort is appropriately defining success – and finding the right partner to achieve our goals. 

Facing the Future Together 

Navicent Health began in 1895 as the nonprofit Macon Hospital, and incorporated as a complete health system in 1994 with the mission of providing a full range of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services for our region. In considering our history, I’m reminded of the importance of progress – not just to survive but to thrive in the modern healthcare landscape. 

To move forward, it takes recognizing the right partner and joining forces to build on shared ideals. Navicent Health and Atrium Health have both made clinical and operational excellence our top priority, and we both lead the way in human and technological investments in population and community health. Together, we will have a unique opportunity to reinforce and strengthen these investments, setting in motion new possibilities for managing the health of people and communities throughout the Southeast and beyond.

And while we could have selected many other organizations to help us take our models of care to the next level, top tier organizational alignment is essential to achieving the outcomes and levels of care our patients deserve. Positioning our organization with Atrium Health delivers enhanced clinical reputation, virtual care technologies and advanced analytics, and a strong financial partner, while maintaining the ‘patients first’ culture shared by both organizations.

Whatever challenges lie ahead, we’re aligned and prepared to face them together. As the scope and reality of medical care continues to change across our region and country, we plan to lead the way, transforming our communities by delivering the means to a healthy lifestyle – not just providing care when our neighbors become sick or injured. To carry our mission forward, we recognize that the best healthcare is no longer limited to traditional care settings or geographical borders. This strategic combination will allow Navicent Health to become a hub for Atrium Health outside the Carolinas and will enhance our position as one of Georgia’s leading centers for health. 

Putting Our Best Foot Forward

Today’s healthcare landscape appears very different from what I saw only a decade ago. Technologies and data have opened the door to the possibilities of impacting communities and patients on a much broader scale. As we consider value, quality, and access, midsize organizations will often need to partner to make such an impact. Our pioneering step forward with Atrium Health is the first of its kind in the Southeast region. It signifies our commitment to our communities, and our willingness to build upon our resources and capabilities, allowing us to enhance access to world-class care in areas like cancer, radiology, pediatrics, surgery, transplant services and behavioral health.

Today I see healthcare in one of the most opportune times to provide leadership and embark on a journey to transform health for generations to come. The healthcare system of the future is going to be deeply rooted in the health of its communities, led by data and new virtual and mobile technologies. For the 750,000 residents in central and south Georgia, and the millions more across North Carolina and South Carolina, Atrium Health and Navicent Health have arrived at the first step of this journey toward healthier communities, greater capabilities, increased access and affordability and delivering a model that will advance care delivery with technology, innovation, and world-class healthcare at its core.

Learn more about our strategic combination. 

Ninfa M. Saunders, DHA, FACHE, is president and CEO of Navicent Health. Navicent Health is based in central Georgia and provides a broad range of medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice care. For more information, please visit