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AdventHealth kicks off listening sessions after receiving approval for new Weaverville hospital

A map showing the location of the future AdventHealth hospital in Weaverville.
Courtesy of AdventHealth
A map showing the location of the future AdventHealth hospital in Weaverville.

Beginning this week, members of the public can share their thoughts about AdventHealth’s plan to add more beds to a hospital it is building in Weaverville. The nonprofit healthcare provider is holding a series of listening sessions as it seeks permission to expand its coverage in Western North Carolina.

The listening sessions come after a judge last week granted approval to the Florida-based provider, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The move brings competition to a market that has long been dominated by HCA Healthcare, which has come under scrutiny for conditions at Asheville’s Mission Hospital.

The first listening session was held Tuesday night at the Yancey County Senior Center in Burnsville. There are two more sessions later this week: One Wednesday night at the Graham County Community Room in Robbinsville, and another Thursday night at the Buncombe County Training Center in Woodfin.

North Carolina requires healthcare providers to apply for a Certificate of Need from the state Department of Health and Human Services before building a new facility. AdventHealth originally received approval for the 67-bed hospital in late 2022, but Mission appealed the decision, and a trial took place last year.

Mission was one of three competitors in 2022 seeking a Certificate of Need to fill a state-identified need for an additional 67 hospital beds in Buncombe County. Novant Health, a nonprofit based in Winston-Salem, also competed for the state’s approval. Both eventually lost out to AdventHealth, which owns a hospital in Hendersonville and recently announced the purchase of 25 acres of land for the future Weaverville facility.

“AdventHealth joins with the people of Western North Carolina to celebrate this decision and the positive impact this new hospital will have on the area’s health care,” AdventHealth Henderson President and CEO Brandon Nudd said in a statement last week. “We are excited to reach this point in the work to provide whole-person care to the people of Buncombe, Graham, Madison, and Yancey Counties.”

No date has been set for construction on the new facility to begin.

AdventHealth spokeswoman Victoria Dunkle said in a statement last week that the healthcare provider will submit an application for a new Certificate of Need in June to add 26 more beds to the Weaverville hospital.

If approved, the new AdventHealth facility would have a total of 93 beds. That’s far short of the 815 beds at Mission Hospital. But the construction of the new hospital comes as conditions at Mission have prompted a public outcry and an exodus of staff.

HCA is facing numerous lawsuits over alleged monopolistic practices and has come under criticism over conditions at Mission Hospital, with federal authorities earlier this year detailing multiple safety issues that in some cases led to patient deaths.

HCA spokeswoman Nancy Lindell said the company is disappointed in the recent decision awarding the 67 beds to AdventHealth but declined to say whether HCA will again appeal.

“This will not solve the need to transport high-level, critical care patients out of the area when our region’s advanced care beds – only available at Mission Hospital – are full,” Lindell said in a statement Monday. “Mission Health remains committed to providing the region’s most advanced healthcare and will continue to take our community’s evolving health needs into account as we look to the future.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who opposed HCA’s bid for the 67 beds and sued the hospital giant in December for alleged breach of contract, said he welcomes the news of the AdventHealth decision.

“The Court’s decision will increase health care competition in western North Carolina, which can lead to better care and lower prices,” Stein, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, said in a statement Monday. “I commend the career attorneys at the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services who successfully fought on patients’ behalf.”

Details on this month’s AdventHealth listening sessions are below:

  • Graham County: Wednesday, May 15, 4 to 6 pm at the Graham County Community Room, 196 Knight Street, Robbinsville, NC.
  • Woodfin: Thursday, May 16, 5 to 7 pm at the Buncombe County Training Center, 20 Canoe Lane, Woodfin, NC.
  • Weaverville: Tuesday, May 21, 5 to 7 pm at the Weaverville Community Center, 60 Lakeshore Drive, Weaverville, NC.
  • Enka-Candler: Thursday, May 30, 4 to 6 pm at the Enka-Candler Public Library, 1404 Sand Hill Road, Candler, NC.
Felicia Sonmez is a reporter covering growth and development for Blue Ridge Public Radio.