Atrium Health: 80 years of service

Oct. 8. The year was 1940. Edward R. Murrow was broadcasting the events of World War II  from London. North Carolina’s farmers still used livestock to pull their plows. And, post-depression Charlotte was  emerging as a budding cultural center, with a growing recording industry presence. The year also marked the culmination  of years of effort by the people of Charlotte, who raised money and pursued government resources to bring needed  healthcare to this city.

In October of 1940, Charlotte Memorial Hospital opened its doors. The founders of Charlotte Memorial, from its earliest  days, laid out its mission to provide the highest level of care for all in the greater Charlotte community. Charlotte Memorial Hospital came to be known as Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center and is today – 80 years later – recognized as the flagship hospital of Atrium Health.

Regional approach

Atrium, which also owns Atrium Health Cabarrus in Concord, has also applied for a Certificate of Need to build a hospital in Cornelius on the former Augustalee property.

But from its beginnings on Blythe Boulevard, that vision of care has evolved into one of the most advanced and innovative regional health systems in the country, providing patients world-class medical care close to home in areas such as  cancer, cardiology, pediatrics, surgery, transplant and behavioral health in the Carolinas and in Georgia.

Providing care to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, Atrium Health continues to fulfill its mission of improving health, elevating  hope and advancing healing—for all. Over the past three years, Atrium Health has provided nearly $2 billion per year in  free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.

“On this 80th anniversary of Atrium Health, I believe if our founders were with us today, they would be in awe of the  courage, perseverance and honorable way our teammates have brought to life our ‘for all’ mission in new and  remarkable ways. And, they would see a reflection of the same principles that guided them as they worked to build a  healthcare center of excellence for Charlotte,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health.

55,000 Atrium ‘teammates’

“We are  extremely grateful to be standing on the shoulders of our predecessors and for our 55,000 teammates who carry on that  proud legacy of caring for our patients each and every day.”

In honor of its 80-year milestone, the Mayor of Charlotte, Vi Lyles, declared Oct. 7, 2020, as “Atrium Health Day”  in the city. Uptown buildings in the Queen City skyline were illuminated with Atrium Health’s signature teal in  observance of the anniversary.

“Atrium Health is key to the physical, mental and economic health of our city and surrounding communities,” said Lyles. “Atrium Health has been vital to our city’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, caring for patients … while also eliminating testing disparities in underserved communities and spearheading a private-public partnership to distribute millions of masks.”

Timeline: Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center History 

• 1876: Jane Wilkes leads the effort to establish St. Peter’s Hospital, originally called Charlotte Home and Hospital, in  Charlotte’s Fourth Ward.

• 1940: Charlotte Memorial Hospital opens, replacing St. Peter’s Hospital, whose remaining patients are transferred to  Charlotte Memorial on October 7.

• 1960: The Charlotte Memorial Hospital Authority assumes ownership and management of Good Samaritan Hospital,  the city’s only hospital providing non-emergency care to racial minority patients.

• 1982: Charlotte Memorial Hospital adopts the first graphic version of its now-familiar ‘Tree of Life’ icon on its logo. • 1985: University Hospital opens for patients.

• 1990: Charlotte Memorial Hospital changes its name to Carolinas Medical Center.

• 1995: Mercy Health joins The Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, marking the start of what is today Atrium  Health Mercy and Atrium Health Pineville joined the organization.

• 1996: The Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority begins using the name Carolinas Healthcare System (CHS) in  1996.

• 2004: Carolinas MED-1 mobile hospital service launched.

• 2007: NorthEast Medical Center (now known as Atrium Health Cabarrus) joins CHS. Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mount Holly and Levine Children’s Hospital open.

• 2010: Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln opens at its new location. Formation of Levine Cancer Institute announced. • 2011: 50-year lease signed to manage Carolinas Medical Center – Union.

• 2013: Cleveland Regional Medical Center and Stanly Health Services join CHS. Virtual Critical Care unit opens in  Mint Hill.

• 2014: CHS Behavioral Health – Davidson opens. Virtual Visits on mobile devices launch. Carolinas HealthCare  System Anson opens.

• 2018: Carolinas HealthCare System changes its name to Atrium Health and rebranding of all locations begins.  Navicent Health in Macon, Georgia, joins Atrium Health.


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