Carolinas Health Care & UNC to merge

Carolinas HealthCare System will partner with UNC Health Care of Chapel Hill to form a joint operating company. Last Thursday, the two hospital systems announced the mega company would allow them to work together to build new hospitals to leverage negotiation with insurance companies.

Gene Woods, currently CEO of Carolinas HealthCare, is expected to become chief executive of the new entity. William Roper, the CEO of UNC Health Care, will chair the board that will oversee the combined system.

Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to join their clinical, medical education and research resources. Under the LOI, the two organizations have agreed to start a period of exclusive negotiations, with the goal of entering into final agreements by the end of the year. The new organization will deliver world-class care to people in North Carolina by creating the most comprehensive network of primary, specialty and on-demand care in the Southeast.

Together, Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care will provide clear solutions for healthcare’s most pressing challenges by focusing on four strategic areas: increasing access and affordability, advancing clinical care expertise, growing their renowned academic enterprise and contributing to the region’s economic vibrancy.

“Together with UNC Health Care, we believe that the opportunities to be a national model and to elevate health in North Carolina are nearly limitless,” said Gene Woods, current president and CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System, and future CEO of the new entity. “For example, since our organizations already serve almost 50 percent of all patients who visit rural hospitals in our state, we are perfectly positioned to participate in the reinvention of rural healthcare in partnership with others. Ensuring there is great healthcare in rural counties is not only important to our patients’ physical wellbeing, but is also vital to the economic wellbeing of those communities as well. At the same time, we are also inspired by what our two organizations will be able to do together to transform cancer treatment. At Levine Cancer Institute, we care for over 10,000 new patients every year, and over 1,000 participate in clinical trials through a ‘care-close-to-home’ model in more than 25 locations throughout the Carolinas. Combined with UNC Health Care’s National Cancer Institute designation, with more than $70 million in joint cancer research grants for clinical trials, we will create a cancer network that is second to none in the country. In short, this partnership is an example of one of those truly ‘big ideas’ that this state is known for.”

Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care will improve access to care in underserved and rural geographies, jointly addressing behavioral health needs, designing new models of care and further developing virtual care platforms. The joint organization also will work to expand medical education, serving as the platform for training future healthcare providers. The new organization also will further the development of clinical care destination centers and centers of excellence as well as differentiated care in pediatrics, cancer, transplant services, among others.

“By integrating our organizations, we are combining the strengths of two great health systems, providing greater access to a full range of services and leading-edge treatments for patients, enabling better coordination of care and advancing research,” said Dr. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, CEO of UNC Health Care, and future executive chair of the new organization. “Carolinas HealthCare System is one of the most innovative healthcare organizations in the nation, particularly in combining world-class clinical care with a community care model. By combining our two extremely mission-focused organizations, we will offer an unparalleled array of services, expertise and experiences for our patients and communities – beyond what either of us could do independently.”

Among its many services, the new company will:

  • Provide both urban and rural populations with close-to-home options for world-class care.
  • Offer nearly 1,400 active clinical trials that can quickly help uncover solutions and deliver treatments.
  • Serve as the cornerstone for Medicaid coverage in North Carolina.
  • Strengthen collaboration with other healthcare providers to improve patient experience and bring affordable care to the region.
  • House seven nationally-ranked adult clinical service lines and nine nationally-ranked pediatric clinical service lines.
  • Drive research opportunities that advance discovery and innovation to find new cures and change the way care is delivered.
  • Educate the next generation of physician leaders at the nationally ranked UNC School of Medicine, through more than 100 residency programs in its enhanced network of teaching hospitals across the state, and through lifelong learning for providers.
  • Train, support and retain the healthcare professionals needed to serve North Carolina and beyond.