Some physicians leave Atrium Health over new compensation contracts

A physician's stethoscope
Some doctors have chosen to leave Atrium Health rather than take a pay cut. (Getty/millionsjoker)

Some doctors have decided to leave Atrium Health because of new compensation contracts that required them to take a pay cut.

The doctors, including some local pediatricians, have left the health system, formerly known as Carolinas Healthcare System, because of the new compensation contracts, according to WSOCTV.

In recent years, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based health system has required that its approximately 2,000 doctors sign new contracts that align with national compensation benchmarks, the news station said. But the new contracts proposed by the organization would have required that at least some doctors effectively take a cut in their salary.

Although physician salaries have remained high in general, the introduction of benchmarks used to determine compensation, particularly relative value units, are being reflected in some paychecks.

Atrium Health said in a statement to WSOCTV that only a small percentage of physicians have chosen not to sign new agreements with the health system. “This is a not a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ and the new plans provide flexibility depending on the specialty,” according to an Atrium spokesperson.

The news station reported that several doctors moved to Novant Health. For some patients, the decision by doctors to leave Atrium may mean finding new physicians because of network insurance requirements.

Carolinas HealthCare System, the largest health system in North Carolina, announced it was changing its name to Atrium Health last month, a change it says highlights the system's growth—expansion that includes a new deal with Georgia health system Navicent Health. The health system signed a letter of intent to merge with Navicent Health, which will become part of Atrium.

Another planned merger, however, has fallen apart. Atrium announced March 2 that it has suspended merger negotiations with UNC Health Care, a merger that would have formed one of the country’s largest nonprofit health systems. The two systems failed to reach an agreement on a deal announced last year to form a joint operating company.