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"Immediate jeopardy" designation at Mission Hospital suspended with new 90-day deadline for corrective action

A sign outside Asheville's Mission Hospital.
Felicia Sonmez
A sign outside Asheville's Mission Hospital.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid confirmedthe suspension of the "immediate jeopardy" designation at Asheville's Mission Hospital, giving the hospital a respite from the threat of losing Medicaid and Medicare funding.

The health care facility, owned by HCA, has 90 days to complete corrective actions, according to a CMS spokesperson and a letter from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to Mission CEO Chad Patrick.

"Federal Regulations prohibit the State Agency from recommending Certification of a provider when it has been determined there are one or more Conditions of Participation out of compliance," NCDHHS wrote to Patrick Wednesday in a letter obtained by BPR News.

The letter states that based on the overall survey findings, NCDHHS is "recommending a 90-day termination from the Medicare and Medicaid program."

"The CMS Regional Office will notify you of their findings and the action to be taken," the letter to Patrick states.

A revisit to the facility was conducted on Feb. 23, but details from that survey are not yet publicly available.

In a letter to Patrick on Feb. 23, a CMS official said the termination action was suspended and the federal authority will be reviewing the findings from the latest visit.

"We appreciate the expertise of all the surveyors present this week who took the time to thoroughly review our compliance," HCA spokesperson Nancy Lindell said in a statement on Friday. "We are also grateful to all of our colleagues who come to the hospital every day committed to giving their best for our patients."

The hospital received notice of violations and an intent to terminate its participation in Medicare at the beginning of February following a survey by inspectors in late November and early December 2023.

CMS issued a 384-page report citing multiple patient safety issues – including treatment delays – that led to the designation.

At a press conference last week, some Mission staff said the corrective plan was insufficient in addressing the underlying cause of the safety problems at Mission: understaffing.

Laura Lee began her journalism career as a producer and booker at NPR. She returned to her native North Carolina to manage The State of Things, a live daily statewide show on WUNC. After working as a managing editor of an education journalism start-up, she became a writer and editor at a national education publication, Edutopia. She then served as the news editor at Carolina Public Press, a statewide investigative newsroom. In 2022, she worked to build collaborative coverage of elections administration and democracy in North Carolina.

Laura received her master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and her bachelor’s degree in political science and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Felicia Sonmez is a reporter covering growth and development for Blue Ridge Public Radio.