*Updated 5:23 am 12/25/15 - Mission Health President and CEO Ron Paulus offered an explanation for the group's actions in a story in the Asheville Citizen-Times and an interview with television station WLOS. WLOS provided WCQS with audio of the interview, which we have posted below.
Original Post - Wednesday 12/23/15:
More than a hundred doctors and nurses at Mission hospitals in Asheville are unsure about their jobs after Mission indicated it could sever ties with the company that employs them. Mission told the workers they were looking at alternatives to extending a contract with the company AllCare. The action was taken swiftly after the non-profit Mission was made aware that AllCare would be acquired by Surgery Partners. Both of the latter are for-profit entities. In a statement provided to WCQS, Mission Health President and CEO Ron Paulson says the company is looking at alternatives, including employing its own doctors and nurses, sidestepping AllCare altogether. He says the company is posting the jobs and that an existing contract with AllCare has been extended through the end of April to ensure continuity of service. Here is a link to one of the online job postings. The workers that are affected include 25 physician anesthesiologists, 96 certified registered nurses, and about 20 additional people.
Frank Sutton, a practicing anesthesiologist and executive committee director for AllCare in Asheville says his job is one of the ones on the line. He says employees learned Mission was posting their jobs on Monday morning when they came into work to find flyers advertising their positions. They provided a photo of one of them.
A Mission spokesperson said no one would be available to comment this week, but wanted to emphasize that the affected employees are AllCare employees, not Mission employees, and that Mission itself was not laying off anyone, saying it was "business as usual" through the end of the contract as Mission explored its options. They provided a statement, credited to Ron Paulus, and dated December 21, 2015:
As part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality healthcare, Mission Health continues to establish relationships that allow us to offer the breadth of services and excellent care that are important to our patients, families, physicians, and the community we serve.
Although Mission had been in duscussions with AllCare Clinical Associates, PA, to provide anesthesiology services, we were just recently notified by them that they had been acquired by a for-profit competitor. Subsequently, we made a determination that it is in the best interests of our patients and Mission to explore all alternatives, including bringing the service in-house. Accordingly, we have posted positions. We truly value and greatly appreciate AllCare's clinicians and staff, and to ensure continuity for our patients we have entered into an interim agreement that runs through April 30, 2016.
We do not anticipate any interruption in services while we continue to consider all options for meeting our service needs by identifying partners who share our values and are able to contribute to the caring and safe environment we provide to our patients and community.
You can hear the full interview with Dr. Sutton above. A short version that aired on WCQS is below.