Carolinas HealthCare System
Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) is one of the largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit health care networks in the United States. CHS encompasses approximately 40 owned and managed hospitals in the Carolinas, along with approximately 900 other care locations, including physician practices, freestanding emergency departments, urgent care centers, nursing homes, community clinics and other facilities.
CHS employs nearly 60,000 people, accounts for more than 11.5 million patient encounters each year, and has component budgets that total more than $8.7 billion annually. Some of its best-known specialty centers include Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children’s Hospital, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, the Transplant Center and comprehensive facilities providing physical rehabilitation and behavioral health services. The CHS core mission includes not only patient care, but education and research.
Carolinas Medical Center serves as the Charlotte campus of the UNC School of Medicine. In addition, CHS offers a variety of nursing and allied health programs, as well as graduate medical education opportunities that include 20 residency programs and 15 accredited fellowship programs.
The systematic integration of cancer treatment facilities has opened up clinical trial participation to patients located throughout the Carolinas. In addition, hundreds of clinical studies are in progress at any given time, spanning the full spectrum of medical disciplines from emergency medicine to surgery.
CHS has an active community outreach program to encourage preventive health. The most visible efforts in recent years have focused on early diagnosis and intervention for pre-diabetic patients, mental health first aid and the prevention of childhood obesity.
CEO Michael C. Tarwater, who has been with CHS for more than 30 years, says success and growth come naturally when you’re based in a dynamic city like Charlotte.
“Charlotte sells itself as a magnet for business startups and relocations,” he said. “The resulting growth has benefited businesses large and small, as well as not-for profit and philanthropic organizations.”
Q&A with Michael C. Tarwater
How has being located in Charlotte contributed to your organization’s growth?
Charlotte is a growing, vibrant city that attracts new business and residents from all over the world. Also, we are blessed to have a number of organizations, in addition to the chamber, that actively work together to promote regional growth and community development.
What is the appeal of doing business in Charlotte?
Whenever I travel, I find that Charlotte enjoys a tremendous reputation as a place to do business and raise a family. The region’s many attractions include a thriving business community, professional and amateur sports, the arts, culture, education, recreation, outdoor spaces and religious life. And let’s not forget health care. We have an extraordinary concentration of talented providers and state-of-the art facilities.
In addition, the chamber has nurtured a number of communitywide outreach programs that promise to have significant impact over time in promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing the incidence of chronic disease. Undergirding all of this is a diversified economy that has provided an unusual degree of stability, despite the overseas migration of textile, furniture and other manufacturing jobs in recent decades.
Can you speak to some of the partnerships Carolinas HealthCare System has with other companies here in town and how those partnerships benefit the companies involved?
At this point, CHS has some 3,000 employer clients in a 13-county region who partner with us to offer occupational health, wellness and other services. We expect that total to continue to grow as the delivery of health care services becomes more and more decentralized. This trend of decentralization helps to enhance customer convenience and increase efficiency.
One of our key partnerships is with Premier Inc., a major national enterprise that is now headquartered here in Charlotte. Premier is a leading health care improvement company that provides integrated data and analytics, supply chain solutions and advisory services. Approximately 3,400 U.S. hospitals and approximately 110,000 other providers work together with Premier to enhance quality, safety and the patient experience, while moderating the escalation of costs.
Why do you consider Charlotte an emerging health care hub?
Charlotte is fortunate to have two well-established health care systems that include acute care hospitals, physician practices and other types of outpatient and specialty care locations. In addition, we have a variety of excellent physicians and other providers who continue to operate independently. In fact, many of the programs in this area are so highly regarded that people are coming here from other areas for treatment. We refer to this as “medical tourism,” and it’s a growing part of the regional economy.
We also have many medical research programs that have attracted some of the world’s top experts, seeking better treatments for such impairments as muscular dystrophy, ALS and other neurological disorders.
I have already mentioned Premier, and there are, of course, many other firms that help to support the health care sector, including Cardinal Health Inc. with a distribution center in Charlotte, Linet Americas in Charlotte, and Rubbermaid Healthcare in Huntersville.
The health care sector of the economy will continue to play a significant role in Charlotte’s economy as time goes on, particularly given the influence of aging baby boomers and the impact of Charlotte’s steady growth.