© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mission Health Moves Toward Sale To HCA Healthcare

Mission Health this week announced it was beginning to negotiations to be purchased HCA Healthcare, a for-profit healthcare company based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission, which operates the majority of hospitals in Western North Carolina and is one of the region's largest employers, says the potential deal will allow the healthcare system to "preserve and expand" their "world-class quality of care within a rapidly consolidating healthcare industry."

HCA Healthcare operates hospitals and surgery centers in 20 states and the United Kingdom.  According to the company's website, it employs 240-thousand people.  It is a for-profit company, while Mission Health is a non-profit and would convert to a for-profit if and when the sale is finalized.  In its statement (which you can read in full below) no timeframe was given for when the sale could be completed.

ASHEVILLE, NC – March 21, 2018 -- Mission Health's Board of Directors today announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to enter into exclusive discussions to join HCA Healthcare, a Nashville, Tennessee-based company founded 50 years ago by two physicians.  The Board's unanimous decision to execute the LOI with HCA Healthcare reflects its long-term vision and commitment to preserve and expand Mission Health’s world-class quality of care within a rapidly consolidating healthcare industry.  

HCA Healthcare is one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services and uses its extensive resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. The LOI is an important, proactive step to ensure Mission Health remains well-positioned to continue to meet the unique needs of western North Carolina as the healthcare environment continues to evolve.   A key component of the proposed agreement is the establishment of a new foundation that would provide substantial annual investments dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the citizens of western North Carolina. In addition, as part of HCA Healthcare, Mission Health is expected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenues for the area.

“The Board, all of whom are community members who care deeply about ensuring access to high quality care for the people of western North Carolina for generations to come, is confident that HCA Healthcare is the right and best choice for Mission’s team members and providers, its patients and the communities we are privileged to serve,” said Mission Health Board Chair John R. Ball, MD. “We are extremely excited about this unprecedented opportunity to create an even stronger cornerstone of value, access and quality.”

“HCA Healthcare is a leading healthcare operator that offers advantages on a scale that would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve otherwise,” Dr. Ball said.  “As important, the newly formed foundation will be life-changing for the residents of our region, providing tens of millions of dollars annually in new support for the most vulnerable.”   

“Mission Health has a more than 130-year tradition of caring for communities throughout western North Carolina, and we are excited to formalize discussions with them about how we can help continue their impressive legacy,” said Milton Johnson, HCA Healthcare’s chairman and CEO. “As a healthcare provider founded by physicians 50 years ago, we appreciate the way Mission Health has served western North Carolina with a level of excellence that has earned national recognition as one of the top 15 healthcare systems in the country. We appreciate the opportunity to discuss becoming an integral part of their community.”

In making the announcement, Mission Health's Board Vice Chair, John W. Garrett, MD, noted that even though HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading health system operators, it does not currently have operations in North Carolina.  “HCA Healthcare is attracted to Mission Health for many reasons, including the reputation of Mission Health clinicians and broader team to deliver best-in-class care and patient outcomes and our shared commitment to innovation.  When combined with the ability of the newly formed foundation to enhance access in underserved communities and to invest in solving some of healthcare’s most complex and intractable problems – health risks that are beyond the reach of traditional medicine – it’s an ideal opportunity for our community,” said Dr. Garrett.  

“HCA Healthcare appreciates that Mission Health has the capacity to continue its work alone, and yet we both recognize that meeting our core missions could be achieved more effectively together.  It is a tribute to the Mission Health Board and team that we are in such a position of strength that we can make the best choice for our people, our patients and our communities,” said Mission Health President and CEO Ronald A. Paulus, MD.  

“We are excited to be considering joining HCA Healthcare and benefitting from its caliber and exceptional capabilities in research, clinical trials, data analytics, graduate medical education and more.  We believe that HCA Healthcare uniquely provides the experience, scale and resources that will enable Mission Health to enhance and expand our services in western North Carolina,” said Dr. Paulus.  “In return, joining HCA Healthcare would allow Mission Health to share our quality and clinical outcome best practices with the broader HCA Healthcare family to the benefit of communities across the nation.”

“It is important to us that HCA Healthcare expresses a commitment to supporting our clinical best practices and our communities’ values,” Dr. Paulus added.  “The recognition HCA Healthcare continues to earn for being one of the world’s most ethical companies is compelling.”  For the past nine years, HCA Healthcare has been ranked as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the world leader in business ethics, the Ethisphere Institute.

Mission Health is the only health system in North Carolina to be named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics, an IBM Company, and the only health system in the nation to be named a Top 15 Health System in five of six years.  

The transaction contemplated by the LOI is subject to the negotiation of a definitive agreement and applicable regulatory approval.  

To learn more and stay informed, the public is invited to visit www.missionhealthforward.org.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.