Collage of moments from Atrium Health

News, Coronavirus Updates | 18 days ago

Pandemic Moves into Manageable Phase as Atrium Health Growth Continues

Atrium Health leaders told the Atrium Health Board of Commissioners more boosters could be coming as the system’s president and CEO doubles down on commitment to the Queen City, announcing Atrium Health intends to break ground on The Pearl innovation district later this year.

The Atrium Health Board of Commissioner’s second board meeting of the year on Tuesday, May 10, felt almost like a pre-pandemic event, with major updates focused on system growth rather than on the pandemic that’s dominated all of our lives – and most agendas – for more than two years. 

But COVID-19 updates weren’t exactly an afterthought, as omicron subvariants BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 have caused a recent rise in positive tests in the past two weeks. 

The good news, though, explained Ken Haynes, president of the Greater Charlotte Region, is that COVID-related hospitalizations are only seeing a mild uptick. 

“Our current case and hospitalization patterns suggest we are currently in more of a manageable phase of the pandemic and we can protect our community by continuing to ask folks to make sure you get a vaccine, make sure you’re prepared with a booster,” Haynes said, stressing the continued importance of vaccinations and said we should all expect the need for additional boosters in the coming months

“Boosters in the fall will be very important to help us mitigate against that potential surge from the next winter season,” Haynes said. 

Atrium Health has continued to flourish throughout the pandemic, and even more so now that we are getting a bit of a reprieve from the worst of COVID-19. But despite continued growth across the southeast in recent years, one thing remains clear: Charlotte is home. 

While many things have changed over the years, Atrium Health’s commitment to Charlotte has not wavered. In fact, it’s making significant commitments to teammates and the community now more than ever. 

Those commitments are evident in the continued planning for the development of The Pearl innovation district. Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene A. Woods said the organization plans to break ground on The Pearl in the fourth quarter of 2022, a landmark moment in the creation of a community that will lead innovation, education and research FOR ALL, right here in Charlotte. Home. 

Woods announced the formation of the Brooklyn Ribbon steering committee, which will serve as a direct connection to the community, ensuring Atrium Health’s promise to honor the roots of the land on which The Pearl will be built

“So we are staying connected with our leaders, our grassroots organizers, the educators on this community advisory group, policymakers as well, so that we hear the active voice of the community as we build The Pearl,” Woods explained.

Beyond The Pearl, Atrium Health is continuing to expand access to care, to meet the demands of the rapidly growing Charlotte community

“All around the region, we are working tirelessly to grow our footprint, bringing new and innovative ways to care directly to the patients that need it most,” Haynes explained.

Haynes told the board that construction on Atrium Health’s newest hospital in the Lake Norman area is scheduled to begin in December, with a projected opening in the fourth quarter of 2024. 

Meanwhile, the organization broke ground in March on a $69 million state-of-the-art radiation therapy facility that Haynes said will be the first site in the Charlotte area to offer two advanced radiation therapies to children and adult patients with complex tumors. 

The center is expected to open in 2023, with gamma knife radiosurgery beginning mid-year and proton beam therapy beginning later that year. 

The immediate impact of Atrium Health’s community efforts is already being felt in Shelby, where just last week, teammates celebrated the opening and ribbon cutting of its newest virtual care clinic at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church’s Community Life Center’s Robertsdale Campus. The virtual care clinic meets people where they are, in their community, giving them access to a virtual visit with an Atrium Health physician or advanced practice provider

“With this clinic, we are eliminating the inconvenience of having to travel fardelaying getting medical care or enduring lengthy wait times for non-emergency medical needs for those in those rural communities that we proudly serve – a huge step for our rural care efforts,” Haynes said.

But regardless of Atrium Health’s continued growth, its impact wouldn’t truly be felt if not for the dedication and efforts of its leaders and teammates. 

Woods announced that more than $1 million has now been distributed to teammates through the Atrium Health Caregiver Heroes Teammate Emergency Care Fund, offering support to teammates in their most critical time of need. It’s a powerful program that has helped several teammates through difficult situations, a highlight that was praised by Atrium Health Board Chair, Angie Vincent-Hamacher

“It’s life-changing, I think, for some of the teammates, to get that kind of assistance,” she said. I think it not only represents Atrium Health carrying out the FOR ALL mission in terms of teammates, but just imagine how it impacts the teammates’ ability to take care of patients.”

Vincent-Hamacher, along with two Atrium Health leaders were recently named to the Charlotte Ledger’s 40-Over-40 list: Chris Berger, vice president of enterprise communications, and Rita Dominguez, manager of community health workers.

Atrium Health Senior Vice President of Nursing and Pharmacy and Enterprise Nurse Executive, Maureen Swick, who was recently honored with the lifetime achievement award from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), told the board that AONL honored Atrium Health with the Prism Award, for advancing diversity and inclusion within the nursing profession, community and across the enterprise. 

“This honor is truly a reflection of the great work of all the nurses across the enterprise,” Swick said. “An inclusive environment is essential for our clinicians and the diverse populations we serve.

Haynes praised Swick and all nurses as we continue to celebrate National Nurses Week, thanking them for all they do for their fellow teammates, their patients, and those patients’ families. 

It’s a sentiment echoed by Woods, as he noted the continued efforts of his teammates today and every day. 

I know you have continued to be in awe of our teammates,” Woods told the board, “Certainly in nursing, but really all throughout the organization, all 75,000 of them and I’m just so grateful for their steadfast commitment and perseverance.