Mission Health

Staggered by COVID-19 infections, both among incoming patients and its own healthcare staff, Mission Hospital in Asheville is postponing all scheduled surgeries at the main hospital and will admit emergency and critically ill patients only after a case-by-case review, hospital administrators said Tuesday.

Buncombe County Government

Mission Health’s chief medical officer is leaving his role to join Mountain Area Health Education as CEO.  According to a news release, William Hathaway, MD, will  assume his new role February 7, succeeding Jeffery Heck, MD, who announced his retirement in August after a decade lead

Lilly Knoepp

Nurses at Mission Hospital have been calling out dangerous levels of staffing shortages since HCA purchased Mission Health System in 2019. Mission says there is a nationwide nursing shortage. 

BPR dug into both sides of the story.

Since the nurses joined the National Nurses United Union in September 2020 calls about unsafe staffing levels have become louder in the form on community actions, federal and state complaints and more.

Courtesy of Mission Health

Recently, Mission Health broke ground on the new behavioral health facility in Asheville.

The $62 million facility was part of Mission Health’s deal when purchased by HCA Healthcare in 2019. HCA promised that it would build the facility within 5 years of obtaining the purchase after the permits.  

Pandemic is financial bonanza for HCA

Oct 26, 2021

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, which operates Asheville’s Mission Hospital and five other hospitals in Western North Carolina, reported Friday that it made $2.27 billion in profits in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, triple the amount in the same period last year.

One person dressed as Death with a sign reading, "Unsafe staffing is good for business." Mission Hospital Ashville
Lilly Knoepp

Members of the National Nurses United Union at Mission Hospital marched outside the building Thursday morning, asking for a solution to a staff shortage across departments.

Dozens of nurses gathered including a person dressed in a death costume with a sign reading “Unsafe staffing is good for business.” Others were dressed in scrubs, coats and masks.

Elizabeth Binzel is a nurse from the cardiac unit. She says she worked two 15 hours shifts last week - both without a break.  

“That is in no way safe for our patients to have nurses that exhausted,” said Binzel.   

Courtesy of National Nurses United

The North Carolina Department of Labor is investigating a complaint at Mission Health. 

Two long-time members of Transylvania Regional Hospital board of directors resigned Monday, saying they were “embarrassed” to have supported the sale of the Mission Health System to giant HCA Healthcare and that they now fear for the future of the Brevard-based community hospital under HCA’s profit-driven management.


A class-action lawsuit alleges that HCA Healthcare, the for-profit owner of Mission Health, is using a monopoly to charge more while providing poorer quality of care.

Lilly Knoepp

Angel Medical Center has a new CEO. Mission Health has named Clint Kendall the new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Office of the Macon County hospital.

“I am excited to be in the community of Franklin and look forward to caring for the people of this area in my new role at Angel Medical Center. I hope to meet many of you in the coming months,” said Kendall in a press release.

Courtesy of Mission Health

North Carolina is experiencing a rapid increase in COVID-19 spread among unvaccinated people. Hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last two weeks, according to NCDHHS.

Photo courtesy of MAHEC

Mountain Area Health Education Center is expanding its partnership in Transylvania County.

When Mission Health System was purchased by HCA Healthcare in 2019, many local medical care providers found themselves re-negotiating their contracts.

“I've been working here as an OB-GYN for 11 years.”

That’s Dr. Brian Barrow. His Transylvania Women’s Care office was connected with Mission Health but now his office is called MAHEC Women’s Care at Brevard in partnership with Mountain Area Health Education Center.

Courtesy of Mission Health

Registered nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville agreed on their first union contract.

The three-year deal increases wages, guarantees breaks, mandates nurses must be given PPE and free access to COVID-19 testing.  It also forms a Professional Practice Committee to review staff levels.

Quality Of Care Concerns Rise At Mission Hospital

May 21, 2021

Forrest Johnson fell in her garden on April 22 and broke her leg in two places. Her husband and stepdaughter rushed the 68-year-old former nurse to the Mission Hospital emergency room in Asheville from their home near Burnsville, about an hour’s drive. They arrived around 8 p.m.

Profits Up At HCA, Ratings Down At Mission

May 3, 2021
Photo courtesy HCA Mission

HCA Healthcare, which owns and operates Mission Hospital in Asheville, reported this month that it made $1.4 billion in profits for the first three months of 2021, more than double the amount for the same period last year. 

Lilly Knoepp/BPR News

Mission Health System celebrated a groundbreaking at the site of the new Angel Medical Center in Franklin.

The $68 million location will not have more beds than current hospital but the new space will have bigger rooms, and new technology and more windows explained Angel Medical Center Board of Trustees Chair Johnny Mira-Knippel.

Courtesy of Gibbins Advisors

It’s been two years since HCA Healthcare purchased Mission Health.  The details of the sale continue to be discussed by the independent monitor assigned to ensure the stipulations in the deal are followed. 

Lilly Knoepp

The HCA Healthcare independent monitor has announced it will be hosting an online public informational meeting next month.

The firm, Gibbins Advisors, was appointed by the North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein to oversee HCA Healthcare’s compliance with the terms of its 2019 purchase of Mission Health System.

Courtesy of Mission Health

Mission Health System has announced that it is moving forward with its new hospital in Franklin after more than a 3-month delay because of the pandemic.

Mission Health says it will be breaking ground on the new Angel Medical Center at the end of April.

Dr. Timothy Layman oversees clinical operations at Angel. He says the new hospital, which will now be across town,  will have new technology - including a new imaging suite - and more space.

Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust has announced three new board members.

“There is a wealth of talented leadership in Western North Carolina from which to select our directors, and these three are all great examples,” said Dogwood Health Trust Board Chair Janice Brumit.

Lilly Knoepp

HCA Healthcare has delayed construction of the new Angel Medical Center location in Franklin. The project was scheduled to break ground at the end of 2020.

“While we hoped to begin breaking ground before the end of 2020, events beyond our control have delayed that until spring of 2021,” said Karen Gorby, Angel Medical Center CEO and CNO, in an email.

Three WNC hospitals are on the list to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine shipments.  Earlier this week, North Carolina health officials announced that Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville would be among the 11 “early ship sites” that would hold the vaccine in cold storage during the approval process, which is expected to continue this weekend with the meeting of the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  

Nonprofit Mission Made Lots Of Profits. Especially For Bosses

Dec 10, 2020

For a hospital system organized as a not-for-profit charity, Mission Health made a lot of profits.

The sale of Mission Health to HCA made be concluded as a financial transaction, but the details of how it was reached are few and far between.  Peter Lewis of AVL Watchdog wrote two stories last month (here and here) examining what details about how Mission reached its agreement with HCA, and whether the then non-profit health system sold for far less than it was worth.  He spoke with BPR's M

Courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust, the foundation created to disburse the profits of the sale of Mission Health, is required to host an annual public meeting. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the meeting was hosted via Zoom this week.  

About 600 people virtually attended Dogwood Health Trust's first annual public meeting. 

Janice Brumit, chair of the Dogwood board, reports the foundation has given out about $40 million in total across the 18-county region it covers including the Qualla Boundary.

Mission Sale: Good For WNC, Or Just HCA?

Oct 23, 2020

Years from now, the decision in 2018 by the directors of Mission Health to sell to HCA Healthcare might be seen as a brilliant strategic maneuver, one that guaranteed affordable, high-quality healthcare for future generations of western North Carolinians. This was, and still is, the position of the directors and executives who pushed the deal.

A Done Deal: How Mission Health Wooed HCA

Oct 20, 2020

The news stunned Asheville and Western North Carolina, where Mission Health System Inc. was the area’s largest employer, its main healthcare provider, and a long-time source of civic pride. Seemingly out of the blue, Mission’s directors publicly announced on March 21, 2018, that they had voted to sell the 133-year-old nonprofit to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, for an estimated $1.5 billion.

Courtesy of American Journal of Surgery

Since March, more than 9,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in BPR’s Western North Carolina listening area.  Most of those cases end up at the region’s biggest hospital, Mission in Asheville.  Dr. William Hathaway is Chief Medical Officer there. He says the hospital has been following CDC guidelines around patient testing.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Nurses at Mission Health's hospital in Asheville are currently voting on whether to join a union, National Nurses United.

Courtesy of Mission Health

A New York Times investigation found of the 60 wealthiest hospital chains in the country, at least 36 have laid off, furloughed or reduced the pay of employees as they try to save money during the pandemic despite receiving funding from the CARES Act.  HCA Healthcare, the owners of the Mission Health system, is included in the report.  HCA system received about $1 billion in bailout funds and is one of the world’s wealthiest hospital chains.