North Carolina-based Atrium Health to merge with Advocate Aurora

New organization’s HQ will be in Charlotte, institute for health equity will be located in Milwaukee

Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center
Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center

Last updated on May 13th, 2022 at 11:24 am

Downers Grove, Illinois and Milwaukee-based health care provider Advocate Aurora Health and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Atrium Health today announced their plans to merge.

The deal brings together two large health systems to create an even bigger one, called Advocate Health, that will be based in Charlotte.

Advocate Health says it will “maintain a strong presence in Chicago and Milwaukee,” including a new institute for health equity, which will be located in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care and Downers Grove, Illinois-based Advocate Health Care merged in 2018. Advocate Aurora Health is now one of the 12 largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States. It has 75,000 employees, including more than 22,000 nurses and the Midwest region’s largest employed medical staff and home health organization.

Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 employees serving patients at 40 hospitals and more than 500 care sites.

“The world of health care as we know it is changing at warp speed – and it is rapidly becoming more digital, personalized, scientific and complex,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and chief executive officer of Atrium Health. “This strategic combination will enable us to deepen our commitments to health equity, create more jobs and opportunities for our teammates and communities, launch new game-changing innovations and so much more. Together, we will manifest a new future that significantly elevates the care we provide to every hand we hold and every life we touch.”

“Together, we can do more, be better and go faster,” said Jim Skogsbergh, president and chief executive officer of Advocate Aurora Health. “This combination harnesses our complementary strengths and expertise of our doctors, nurses and teammates to lead health care’s transformation for those we are so proud to serve.”

The new organization will have a combined footprint across Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. It will serve 5.5 million patients, operate more than 1,000 sites of care and 67 hospitals, employ more than 7,600 physicians and nearly 150,000 teammates and have combined revenues of more than $27 billion.

The Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health boards of directors unanimously approved the agreement, which is subject to regulatory review.

“We’ve long admired Atrium Health’s nationally recognized clinical excellence and commitment to health equity,” said Michele Richardson, chair of Advocate Aurora Health’s board of directors. “Given our combined reach, coupled with our talented physicians, nurses and staff, we are uniquely positioned to lead health care’s transformation and create a platform for innovation.”

“Advocate Aurora Health has a well-earned reputation as a national leader in diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as its value-based approach to care that has led to better outcomes and more affordable health care,” said Edward J. Brown III, chair of Atrium Health’s board of directors. “We share a bold vision for the future as we aspire to create a consumer-first system aimed at improving the lives of individuals across the diverse communities we serve.”

A board of directors comprising an equal number of members from Advocate Aurora and Atrium Health will govern the combined organization. Brown will chair the board of directors until December 31, 2023, and Richardson will assume leadership for the immediately succeeding two-year term.

Skogsbergh and Woods will serve as co-CEOs for the first 18 months, at which point Skogsbergh will retire and Woods will become the sole CEO.

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Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.

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