Atrium Health is committed to the Carolinas

News | 2 years ago

Focused on the Future: Atrium Health Remains Committed to the Carolinas

By Anthony DeFurio, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Atrium Health

As chief financial officer for Atrium Health, part of my responsibility is to ensure we manage our resources wisely, allowing us to continue to invest in our patients, teammates and communities.

Last year, we announced the largest capital investment in our history – a commitment of more than $1 billion to the region. Earlier this year, we invested more than $150 million in compensation and retirement for our teammates. Last month, we celebrated the grand opening of Levine Cancer Institute II and also committed $10 million for affordable housing in Charlotte. All this while also serving as the largest Medicaid provider in North Carolina.

In recent days, you may have seen news reports about Atrium Health’s proposal to consolidate the debt of our new family member, Navicent Health. Just like you would refinance a mortgage at a lower interest rate, our intent was simply to save $30 million to help us improve the cost of healthcare for our patients and communities.

This process included formal review by the Local Government Commission (LGC), which is a North Carolina state agency charged with approving the incurrence of debt by cities, counties and hospital authorities such as Atrium Health.

During our meeting with LGC, several misunderstandings arose:

  • First, the Commission raised concerns that our proposal could require North Carolina and its taxpayers to cover the financial obligations of Atrium Health. These concerns do not reflect North Carolina law or how credit ratings are assigned. Neither the State of North Carolina, the County of Mecklenburg, the City of Charlotte nor taxpayers have financial responsibility for the obligations of Atrium Health. In fact, Atrium Health has one of the highest credit ratings of any health system in the country and is solely responsible for its financial commitments. All this information was clearly outlined in our proposal.   
  • Second, a comment made during the discussion regarding our organization’s long-term commitment to remain in North Carolina was reported out of context. Simply stated, Atrium Health has no intention of relocating. This was clearly communicated to the Commission during the meeting.

North Carolina has a long history of building successful organizations that expand beyond our borders to do great things in partnership with others. This has been illustrated by many industries, from banking to energy, and healthcare is no different. These expansions have resulted in significant job growth, economic development in North Carolina and beyond.

At the end of the day, we remain focused on our shared aspirations of greater access to world-class care close to home and finding common sense solutions to address affordability. We look forward to collaborating with current and future partners as we continue to advance our mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all.