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Dogwood Health Trust Chair Says Funding Will Start In 2020

Photo courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust
Janice Brumit, chair of the Dogwood Health Trust board of directors, stopped by the studio to speak with reporter Lilly Knoepp.

Since the sale of Mission Health earlier this year, the foundation tasked with spending the profits of the deal has been quiet.  BPR got an update from the chair of the organization’s board:

Dogwood Health Trust Foundation is tasked with distributing the profits of the $1.5 billion dollar sale of Mission Health to HCA.  As part of his stipulations for the sale, North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein wanted increased diversity on Dogwood’s board of directors.  Now that the 14 board members have been chosen, the organization is close to hiring its CEO according to board chair Janice Brumit. 


“We have three finalists that are being vetted now and we hope to make an announcement of the CEO selection in early August,” says Brumit.  


The foundation launched in February and began hosting listening sessions across the region. Brumit says Dogwood learned about the biggest regional health issues during those sessions. 


“We wanted to know what was important to them about their communities, what were the best assets that they have in their communities, what are their barriers to a healthy community,” says Brumit. 


Brumit says the organization hopes to be ready to accept grant applications in 2020. Since Dogwood is a non-operating foundation, it will be looking for groups to spend its money.  That includes $25 million promised to fight the opioid crisis in the region over the next 5 years. 


"Some of the most important things that we learned were that most of the communities have an opioid crisis, most of them lacked public transportation, most of the communities had an affordable housing problem," says Brumit. "So these are issues that are critical issues to all of the growth of our communities and seeing our communities be healthy and thriving." 


Brumit says they are working on the plan withNorth Carolina Secretary of DHHS Mandy Cohen and hope to have it finished in 2020 as well.   


Right now, Attorney General Stein is vetting an independent monitor that will oversee HCA, and make sure the company keeps the promises it made when it bought Mission. The montior was recommended by ANC Healthcare, the organization that is winding down Mission Health. Those promises includes keeping six rural hospitals open for the next ten years.  Brumit explained that the independent monitor will eventually be a part of Dogwood Health Trust. 


"We want to make sure that HCA lives up to the things that were listed in the asset purchase agreement that they said they would do to provide healthcare for North Carolina." 


 Stein expects to reach a conclusion about the independent monitor in the next few weeks. 

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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