Atrium CFO says comments to LGC ‘Could have been more thoughtful’ & ‘Initially misinterpreted’ following WBTV story

Atrium exec responds to WBTV investigation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A top executive with Atrium Health has issued a statement in response to a WBTV story that found he made comments implying the hospital system would look to do business elsewhere if state regulators did not approve a request from the hospital to issue hundreds of millions of dollars in new bonds to refinance debt.

Anthony DeFurio, EVP and CFO of the hospital system, made the comments to the Local Government Commission during a meeting earlier this month.

DeFurio and other hospital executives were requesting the LGC approve the hospital issuing $300 million in bonds to refinance debt held by a hospital system Atrium purchased in Georgia.

The request was unanimously denied.

DeFurio’s comments were made in an exchange with North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood, who was among the LCG members that expressed skepticism at the hospital’s request.

According to multiple people who were in the room for the commission meeting, DeFurio told Wood that the hospital would have to consider doing business elsewhere if the debt was not approved by the LGC.

Atrium is a county hospital authority and, as such, cannot move its base of operations from Mecklenburg County.

Initially, a spokeswoman for Atrium refused multiple requests from WBTV to address the comments made by DeFurio during the meeting.

But DeFurio issued the following statement early Tuesday afternoon acknowledging the comments and clarifying the intent of his remarks:

“During a recent Local Government Commission meeting, where Atrium Health was proposing to issue a guarantee of Navicent Health’s debt, I was attempting to explain how the support of our home state is so important to Atrium Health and our future. While my choice of words could have been more thoughtful and were initially misinterpreted by Commission members, at no time during the meeting, or during my following conversation with the LGC when asked to clarify my comments, did I intend to insinuate or make any threat regarding Atrium Health’s future in North Carolina. Atrium Health will continue to look for ways to improve our patients’ access to essential health services and reduce the burden of the cost of health care on all of our citizens, and we have no intention of leaving North Carolina. This is our home, and we are privileged to serve and deliver on our mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing - for all.”

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