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HCA Independent Monitor Talks Next Steps After Regional Public Meetings

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Lilly Knoepp
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Gibbins Advisors' Ron Winters listens to the community's concerns at the first public meeting in Cashiers.

The independent monitor overseeing HCA’s compliance with the agreements it made when it bought Mission Health has completed its round of public meetings.  BPR’s Lilly Knoepp talked with Gibbins Advisor’s co-founder about what’s next: 

During the first two months of this year, Gibbins Advisors held 7 public meetings in Mission Health’s service area.  Ron Winters estimates over 600 people attended those meetings to share their experiences on how healthcare at Mission facilities has changed since HCA bought the health system in February of last year. 

Many residents during the meetings voiced concerns over fewer doctors and nurses in hospitals and increased costs.

“We’re taking it all in. Every bit of it is going to go to HCA. And they will be working on it if they feel it is appropriate and necessary. And we will be doing our work in providing a report and recommendations to Dogwood,” says Winters.  

When asked about the complaints of a decreased quality of care since HCA has taken over,  Winters explained that regulators – not the independent monitor - officially track a hospital’s quality of care. 

“You probably noticed that quality of care is not on the list of 15 undertakings so we are going to have to make a determination if any of the undertakings give rise to a violation. I’m not sure at this point,” says Winters. 

He also explains that it is the job of the seller and Dogwood Health Trust to act if there are any violations of the agreement that HCA signed when they bought Mission Health. 

Winters adds it is his firm’s job to ensure HCA follows through on15 commitments it made when it purchased Mission, including keeping all hospitals in the system open for at least 10 years. 

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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