The board of directors for Mission Health say a deal has been signed to sell Western North Carolina's major health system to a for-profit company, HCA Healthcare for $1.5 billion. The deal will now be sent to the North Carolina Attorney General for final review. According to a press release sent out Friday morning by Mission Health, the attorney general's office "will evaluate any effect the transaction could have on market competition, whether HCA Healthcare is paying a fair price for the acquisition and how proceeds resulting from the sale will continue to benefit Western North Carolina."
Mission, currently a non-profit, announced earlier this year it would begin negotiations to sell to for-profit HCA Healthcare, which is based in Tennessee. The company has hospitals and surgery centers in 20 states and the United Kingdom. According to Mission, all of its facilities will continue to operate under the Mission name and be managed locally.
“From the very beginning, Mission Health’s Board worked diligently and continually to ensure that the very best path was selected for the people of western North Carolina and to make certain that our community has access to high quality, effective and compassionate care for generations to come,” said Mission Health Board Chair John R. Ball, MD, JD in a statement put out in a press release Friday morning. “After completing due diligence and finalizing definitive agreements that have significant protections for our rural communities, we are convinced that HCA Healthcare is the right and best choice for western North Carolina and Mission’s team members, providers and patients. It is heartening to share that every single Mission Health member entity Board voted unanimously to approve this transaction.” “Mission Health has an impressive, more than 130-year tradition of caring for communities throughout western North Carolina and we are delighted to have finalized our agreements so that we can help continue their legacy,” said Milton Johnson, HCA Healthcare’s chairman and CEO said in the same press release.
As part of the sale, Mission will create the Dogwood Health Trust, a foundation that will become one of the largest in North Carolina. Dogwood Health would be responsible for awarding potentially billions of dollars in funds to Western North Carolina. More details about the foundation will be unveiled September 30th. Mission has already started naming board members for Dogwood Health, including a chair and eight board members. Most of those already appointed hail from Buncombe County, and those moves have leaders from rural areas of Western North Carolina worried their areas will get ignored by the foundation. Mission's largest hospital is in Asheville, but it does operate several hospitals throughout the region. The foundations for six of those hospitals will receive up to $15-million to award to community groups once Mission's sale to HCA Healthcare is done.