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Emory University and WellStar Health System announce discussions for new, unified health system

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Vince Dollard

Emory University and WellStar Health System announced today that they are engaged in formal discussions regarding their vision to create a new, unified health system to provide excellence in patient care and advance world-class healthcare throughout Metro Atlanta, Georgia, and beyond. The new health system would be formed by combining Emory Healthcare, an entity owned by Emory University, and WellStar Health System into a new system.

The Executive Committee of the Emory University Board of Trustees and the WellStar Health System Board of Trustees have each approved a resolution to continue discussions for the next 45 days. These discussions will serve as an opportunity to educate constituents, have dialogue, and answer questions in preparation for committing to a multistep design process for the new health system that would take about a year to complete.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to create an unparalleled new healthcare system,” said John Morgan, chair of the Emory University Board of Trustees. “Combining the significant resources, talent, and expertise of Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System would bring together two highly respected institutions that together are well known for their commitment to patient care, education, discovery, and innovation. We are honored to be engaged in discussions with WellStar, a prominent community-based health system.”

“As a not-for-profit health system, WellStar Health System was built to serve our communities,” said Gary Miller, chair of the WellStar Board of Trustees. “The same focus on our patients and our team members as an employer of choice that has led to our system’s continued growth will still permeate everything we do. This move is an affirmation of our commitment to providing world-class care to our communities long-term. We are privileged to be in discussions with Emory University regarding Emory Healthcare, a leading academic health system.”

The strategic intent is to combine the significant healthcare resources of Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System in order to create a new, innovative healthcare environment with the best of community-based care and the best of academic medicine.

“During discussions among trustees and executives at both Emory and WellStar, it quickly became evident that we share a vision, commitment, and enthusiasm to create a new organization that strengthens and advances our mission of exceptional patient care, health sciences and medical education, and research,” said James W. Wagner, president of Emory University. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to create a health system that is second to none.”

“Our shared vision is to design one of the best health systems in the nation to serve local communities, the state of Georgia, and beyond,” said Reynold J. Jennings, CEO of WellStar Health System. “The new system will be one of the most innovative and transformational healthcare systems in the industry.”

The combined competencies of WellStar Health System, a prominent community-based health system, and Emory Healthcare, a leading academic health system, will provide an organization that can thrive in the rapidly evolving healthcare environment. The new health system would operate from a position of strength to serve humanity by delivering the highest quality patient care and healthcare services to the individuals and communities the two health systems serve, and by improving health through the integration of education, discovery, and healthcare delivery. 

About Emory University

Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Michael C. Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system. With more than 16,000 employees, Emory Healthcare is the only health system in Georgia with two hospitals that have earned Magnet Designation, signifying nursing excellence. Emory Healthcare's core purpose: "To serve humanity by improving health through integration of education, discovery and health care." For more information, visit

About WellStar Health System

Recognized as the fifth most integrated healthcare delivery system in the country, WellStar Health System is the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia and serves a population of more than 1.4 million residents in five counties. The vision of WellStar is to deliver world-class healthcare. A national leader in the transformation of healthcare delivery, WellStar launched the Center for Health Transformation and has partnered with the Georgia Tech Research Institute leading to far-reaching effects on healthcare both locally and nationally. WellStar includes WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital) and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; WellStar Medical Group; Urgent Care Centers; Health Parks; Pediatric Center; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place; Paulding Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; and the WellStar Foundation. For more information, call 770-956-STAR or visit

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