© 2022 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Main Banner Background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Barbara Durr

  • The flagship Mission Hospital provided a level of care that helped put Asheville on national lists as one of the top places to retire. As recently as 2018, for the sixth time in the previous seven years, Mission Health was named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by IBM Watson Health.But also in 2018, in a surprise decision, Mission’s board of directors voted to sell the successful nonprofit to HCA Healthcare — the largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., with a reputation for cost-cutting and skimping on staff. Soon after taking over, HCA raised prices across the board, and complaints about staffing and quality of care began rising as well. Many retirees and former patients said they were angered and disillusioned.Some local residents, including those who spent their careers in medicine, are now traveling to other cities or even other states for their health care.
  • After profit-focused HCA Healthcare took over nonprofit Mission Health in 2019, management cut positions from housekeeping to food service. Now, an overburdened nursing staff often has to change soiled linens and empty trash — while the number of patients each nurse is assigned to care for each shift has sometimes doubled.Asheville Watchdog examined dozens of formal complaints filed by registered nurses with their union alleging unsafe conditions at Mission in the past 10 months. The forms, along with interviews with current and former nurses, paint a picture of a hospital that was once highly regarded and a source of community pride, but that has degenerated, the nurses said, into a punishing workplace, where staffing reductions and shortages have diminished the quality of care.