Health officials give details about Wake Forest Baptist Health, Atrium Health merger

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest School of Medicine revealed on Friday they are merging with Atrium Health.

The merger was first announced in April 2019 and an agreement was signed last October. Friday begins the process of officially combining the entities, paving the way for a major economic impact.  

The largest employer in Forsyth County is growing. the combination provides 42 hospitals and more than 1,500 locations for care across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. 

“Half of our fellow citizens will live just a few miles from one of our locations,” said Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health.   

The merger allows more students to learn in over 100 specialized programs, including a brand-new Wake Forest School of Medicine campus in Charlotte, a new critical care and emergency department in Winston-Salem and a new eye institute in the Winston-Salem Innovation Quarter.   

Woods says the vision is to build a “Silicon Valley” for healthcare innovation spanning from Winston-Salem to Charlotte. 

“Care has changed so fundamentally that the capabilities of this new organization…is really set up to innovate a new future together,” Woods said. 

 “Currently, Wake Forest Baptist has 40 COVID-19 clinical trials and studies underway,” said Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest Baptist School of Medicine. 

The collaborative will receive more than $300 million in research funding.  

“We’re two organizations that we have the spirit, the desire, the tenacity to really define together what healthcare will look like, and we felt from the beginning that the way to do that best is by coming together in this combination,” Woods said. 

A 16-member board of directors will oversee the new enterprise.  

The merger begins immediately. 

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