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Advent’s hospital plan for Buncombe gets the state nod as competitors contemplate a challenge.

Advent Health Hendersonville
Advent Health
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Advent Health Hospital in Hendersonville

After months of speculation, the question of who will operate Buncombe County’s second hospital was answered in a short post on social media. In a November 22 tweet, Florida-based Advent Health, which operates a hospital in Hendersonville announced the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services approved its proposal to build the 67-bed acute care facility.

The statement, which was confirmed by Advent spokesperson Victoria Dunkle, has not yet been posted on the NCDHHS website, which lists decisions on a monthly basis.

The N.C. 2022 State Medical Facilities Plan, released earlier this year by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (Division of Health Service Regulation) determined Buncombe, Graham, Madison and Yancey counties will have a projected need of 67 additional acute care beds by 2024.

Advent was one of three contenders. Nashville-based HCA Healthcare which operates Mission Hospital System and Winston Salem-based Novant Health, which operates hospitals in parts of central North Carolina and in South Carolina also put in bids. You can find more on the proposed plans here.

A Mission spokesperson told the Asheville Citizen Times the health system opposes AdventHealth's certificate of need and may fight the decision. A Novant spokesperson told the Citizen Times the system is also weighing its next steps.

In July, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein wrote a letter urging the state health department to decline Mission's bid to add beds in favor of bringing more competition to the region.

In August, the state held a public hearing on the three proposals in Asheville. You can find out more about the application and review process here.

Advent’s plan proposes a site at the Enka Center off Smokey Park Highway in the county’s Enka Candler Community, with a completion date of 2025.

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.