On Thursday, Mission Health announced the first board members for the Dogwood Health Trust, the foundation that would be created if Mission’s sale to for-profit company HCA Healthcare goes through.
The majority of the members announced reside in Buncombe County, something that comes as a concern to Franklin Mayor Bob Scott and Highlands Mayor Patrick Taylor.
Taylor is worried rural regions of Western North Carolina won’t be properly represented on the board for Dogwood, which will be one of the largest foundations in North Carolina when it’s officially formed.
“I feel like there are a lot of people - especially the health facilities in outlying areas - who don’t know what is going on and are very concerned that their needs and concerns will be ignored as this whole transition goes forward,” says Taylor.
Three board members are from outside of Buncombe County – one each from Jackson and Yancey Counties and the Qualla Boundary. Mission Health says a contract for its sale should be ready in September.
The full board is: John R. Ball, MD, JD (Buncombe County), Michell Hicks, CPA (Qualla Boundary), Sam Lupas (Jackson County), George Renfro (Buncombe County), Robert C. Roberts (Buncombe County), Wyatt S. Stevens, JD (Buncombe County) and Martha Tyner (Yancey County). It was also announced that Jack Cecil, President of Biltmore Farms will serve as Vice Chair.
Dogwood Health Trust Chair Janice Brumit responded to criticism t that the board was too Buncombe-centric on Friday. Brumit says not every single county in Mission’s footprint can be represented on the board because of its size, but states the board will reflect the interests of the whole region. When asked if any additional rural counties would be represented on the board in the future, she responded:
“We certainly hope so. You know the thing is we want to get the correct competencies on the board and we will look at those regional partners to make sure that we have good diversity of representation throughout the region.“
Dogwood Health Trust will officially launch at an event on September 30th. Mission Health says that a contract with HCA will be ready by the end of September as well.