CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Carolinas HealthCare System is changing its name to Atrium Health, the organization announced Wednesday.
Officials said the announcement reflects the transformation of the organization from its beginnings as Charlotte Memorial Hospital to a health care system with a regional footprint and national profile.
The switch to Atrium Health is an important part of ensuring that the organization isn’t limited to a specific geographical area because of its name, officials said.
“It’s quite remarkable to think back to our humble beginnings in 1940, when a group of ambitious, young clinicians answered the call to serve everyone and opened our doors as Charlotte Memorial Hospital,” Atrium Health president and CEO Gene Woods said. “Now, nearly 80 years later, our doors remain open, and we’ve helped our community thrive. As we have maintained our mission to serve all, we have also evolved. Our new name reflects our organization today and where we are going in the future to make a greater impact for the people we will serve.”
Officials said the name Atrium Health was selected for its meaning as “a place filled with light; a gathering ground where diverse thinkers come together and connections are made; and, literally, the chamber of the heart where each and every heartbeat begins.”
The revised branding that accompanies the new name has several familiar elements that were part of the Carolinas HealthCare System brand, officials said. The organization’s teal color remains, along with an updated “Tree of Life” icon, which is a recognizable logo in the region.
“While we continue to evolve as an organization, we will always hold true to our roots,” Woods said. “Our Tree of Life is strong and our mission to provide care for all will not change. Atrium Health will allow the organization to grow and impact as many lives as possible and deliver solutions that will help even more communities thrive.”
While full implementation of the new name will take nearly two years, changes to the signage at hospital and care locations will begin at the end of this year and into early next year, officials said.
To start the process, the organization introduced the Atrium Health name to more than 65,000 employees Wednesday, including more than 3,000 physicians, and 16,000 nurses and other care providers.
Officials said temporary signage will begin to appear at care locations, and advertisements will start to carry the new name to ensure that patients and local communities know about the change.
Patients will also see updates on their statements and wellness education materials over the next several months, officials said.
Jesse Pike of Pike's Pharmacy said rising healthcare costs are driving the changes.
"It is constantly going up at a greater rate than we get in return for the services,” said Pike.
Pike said healthcare groups have to consider getting more patients to negotiate better deals with insurers.
"Volume is increased to hopefully manage the cost,” Pike said.
The name Carolinas Healthcare limits where CHS can go to find new partners.
"You can't very well be Carolinas in Arkansas,” Pike said.
Carolinas Healthcare is working on a consolidation deal with UNC Chapel Hill Hospital.
Dr. Michael Thompson, associate professor of public health at UNC Charlotte said the attempt to consolidate isn't a factor in the name change.
"This change would be coming regardless,” Thompson said.
Thompson said it is about finding a way to expand as soon as possible.
"You countervail the pressures put in by the insurers, the payers,” he said.
Thompson said both CHS and UNC hospitals would have to change their names to be more attractive outside of the state.
He said inside the state, there is a drawback to name change.
People who grew up with CMC may be more apprehensive about staying with a brand that they don't know even if it’s the same system.
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