Opinion

Changes at Atrium Health won't compromise your safety

Charlotte-area anesthesiologists are in a fight with Atrium Health over the lost of a large contract covering many area hospitals. The group has launched a website that makes its case for staying on.
Charlotte-area anesthesiologists are in a fight with Atrium Health over the lost of a large contract covering many area hospitals. The group has launched a website that makes its case for staying on.

The author is Chair of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at Atrium Health:

Questions have recently been raised about our decision at Atrium Health to terminate our business relationship with Mednax, the corporate parent company of Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants, and enter into a new partnership with Scope Anesthesia of North Carolina for anesthesia services across our system. Some would have you believe we have made a choice that is not in the best interest of our patients and the communities we are privileged to serve. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our patients have been, and always will be, our top priority.

Atrium Health has continually invested heavily in providing world-class care, talent, training, and technology to improve the quality of care that every individual patient experiences with us. Each day we re-invest $5.1 million dollars into the community through free and uncompensated care and other community benefits. We have taken steps to make sure that our doctors and nurses across all our 45 hospitals understand and follow best practices, which improve patient health.

Our record speaks for itself in terms of safety, quality, and patient outcomes, and we would never make a decision that would put any of these at risk. From life-saving transplants, to minimally invasive heart surgeries, to rare fetal procedures, to complex and specialty surgeries, to the region’s only Level I trauma center, Atrium Health’s surgical programs are rated among the best in the nation:

  • Levine Children’s Hospital has a 100 percent one-year survival rate for liver transplants, and a 95 percent three-year survival rate for kidney transplants.

  • Atrium Health’s flagship hospital, Carolinas Medical Center, is one of the busiest transplant centers in North Carolina with a heart transplant survival rate of 95 percent – ten percent higher than the national average.

  • Levine Children’s Hospital is regularly ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals for heart surgery in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

While offering world-class surgical programs, it’s also our responsibility to the community to take a hard look at ourselves – and evaluate how we function and look for improvements that will create higher quality, greater efficiency, and more affordable care for our patients. The most recent example of this is how we provide anesthesia services. Like most hospital systems across the country, wherever it makes the most sense, we contract with trusted partners to provide anesthesia services in our hospitals and other facilities. This model has served us well throughout our history and, in fact, we perform nearly 100,000 surgeries a year at our facilities across the Carolinas.

With the help of our new anesthesia services partner, Atrium Health will be able to keep up with the expected growth in the number of surgeries and life-saving procedures we perform each and every day. We will meet and exceed the quality and safety measures that we are evaluated on, and, most importantly, we will continue to provide the very best care that our patients expect and deserve from Atrium Health.

We remain focused on fulfilling our mission of improving health, elevating hope, and advancing healing for all, by providing high quality and more affordable care. We remain committed to our patients and will never compromise on quality and safety.

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