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Cornelius News

NC State Treasurer blasts Atrium’s proposed merger

Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center

May 12. By Dave Yochum. The proposed merger of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health into a six-state medical behemoth has drawn fire from the North Carolina State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, a Republican.

He cited the “monopolistic nature” of the merger which would create the sixth-largest health system in the country.

“Research consistently shows mergers and acquisitions do not deliver on hospital executives’ promises, but instead trigger higher costs, reduced access and the same or lower level of care,” Folwell said.

Bigger than McDonald’s

Charlotte-based Atrium Health would virtually double in size with the merger announced yesterday.

Treasurer Folwell

It would result in a $27 billion enterprise. McDonald’s Corp. global revenues were $23.2 billion last year.

The result of the merger would be headquartered in Charlotte, would include more than 1,000 care sites and 67 hospitals across Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

A known healthcare critic

Folwell has been on a campaign to make the state’s largest hospitals more transparent about costs and pricing.

“With independent hospital and physician practices increasingly on life support, more mega-mergers are the wrong prescription for the health care industry. Consumers of health care, and the taxpayers who pick up the tab for tax-exempt, multibillion-dollar investment companies disguised as nonprofit hospitals, which are run by multimillionaire executives, ultimately will pay the cost of this ill-advised merger,” Folwell said.

Calling for scrutiny

He encouraged the Federal Trade Commission, US Department of Justice, NC Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Attorney General’s Office to “exercise diligent oversight, and conduct a vigorous examination of this merger to stop and reverse the punishment that these health care cartels are having on the citizens of North Carolina.”

Cornelius not affected

The merger is not expected to affect plans for a 30-bed hospital in Cornelius.