Mission Health

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.

Pandemic Put Pause On Mission's Troubles

May 15, 2020

 

The biggest health crisis in a lifetime hit Asheville shortly after the one-year anniversary of the biggest upheaval in local healthcare: the $1.5 billion sale of the nonprofit Mission Health System to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital management chain.

HCA Healthcare

Mission Health says it will be taking down triage tents it placed outside of its hospitals, while also beginning to re-schedule procedures that had to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In February, Attorney General Josh Stein sent HCA Healthcare a letter requesting answers by this week about allegations the healthcare system is not following through agreements it made when the for-profit firm purchased Mission Health last year. 

Those answers were due at the end of March – this past Tuesday.  Stein says he has given HCA more time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Hospitals in Western North Carolina are bracing for what’s being called a “surge” in Coronavirus cases in the coming days and weeks. 

Lilly Knoepp

Macon County’s Local Disaster Preparedness Team met this morning to talk about where the county stands as the coronavirus, also known as  COVID-19, continues to be a threat to the country. Local hospital officials, law enforcement, public school and health department officials came together to coordinate plans to keep the community safe. 

 

Their main message: Right now, there are no coronavirus cases in North Carolina. 

 

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders blew the cover on some big Western North Carolina news

during a rally in Winston-Salem Thurs.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders blew the cover on some big Western North Carolina news during a rally in Winston-Salem Thurs.

Lilly Knoepp

The independent monitor overseeing HCA’s compliance with the agreements it made when it bought Mission Health has completed its round of public meetings.  BPR’s Lilly Knoepp talked with Gibbins Advisor’s co-founder about what’s next: 

During the first two months of this year, Gibbins Advisors held 7 public meetings in Mission Health’s service area.  Ron Winters estimates over 600 people attended those meetings to share their experiences on how healthcare at Mission facilities has changed since HCA bought the health system in February of last year. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Concerns over patient care and staffing levels dominated Monday evening’s public meeting in Asheville held by the independent monitor overseeing HCA’s purchase Mission Health.  

Lilly Knoepp

Since Mission Health’s sale to for-profit HCA, the six local legacy foundations have given out about $12 million in grants to 169 organizations. Let's take a deeper look at the foundations and the organizations they funded:  

In the great room of Wildcat Cliffs Country Club in Highlands, representatives from 26 organizations were welcomed by the Highlands-Cashiers Health Foundation: 

“Good evening, it’s such an honor to welcome you all to our inaugural grant awards.”  

Logo Courtesy of Gateway Wellness Foundation

Gateway Wellness Foundation announced it has awarded $550,000 in grant funding to local nonprofits. The legacy foundation is based in Marion. It previously supported Mission Hospital McDowell and now supports Burke, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford Counties. 

Lilly Knoepp

The independent monitor chosen to oversee HCA Healthcare’s operation of the Mission Health system has scheduled informational sessions across Western North Carolina.  Gibbins Advisors was named the independent monitor at the end of October. Their role as independent monitor was a stipulation of Mission Health’s $1.5 billion sale to the for-profit hospital. The company is tasked with overseeing HCA’s compliance with the obligations it agreed to when it purchased Mission.  

Matt Peiken | BPR News


Mission Health is a hospital, not a contemporary art center. But you wouldn’t know that from browsing the public areas—and, if circumstances bring you there, to the patient and waiting rooms—of Mission’s new North Tower.

There, you’ll find sculpture, etchings, woodcuts, photographs and one-of-a-kind paintings—some 659 artworks in all, from more than 150 Western North Carolina artists. All of it created on commission, and purchased, by Mission Health.

Courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust has announced a fund to help local organizations hire grant writers. 

It’s called the Leverage Fund, explains Antony Chiang, Dogwood’s new CEO.

 

Courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has approved Gibbins Advisors as the independent monitor of HCA Healthcare. The healthcare consulting firm based in White Plains, New York will be responsible for watching over HCA as outlined in the asset purchase agreement with Stein. 

“That commitment to engaging with local communities, along with the monitor’s qualifications, led me to direct my office to consent to the selection of this monitor,” says Stein in a press release. 

Photo courtesy of HCA Healthcare

Mission Health reached a deal with health insurer Cigna before their contract lapsed. 

The Asheville hospital system reach a deal with the insurance company on October 30, just shy of the November 1 deadline. 

The multi-year agreement ensures that all Cigna patients will remain in-network. This deal covers Mission Health, an operating division of HCA Healthcare, which includes the surrounding five rural hospitals. Only Mission Hospital was in danger of going out of network.

Courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust, the nonprofit foundation created by the sale of Mission Health to for-profit HCA, has chosen its initial CEO. 

Antony Chiang, president of Empire Health Foundation, has been chosen as the initial CEO of Dogwood.  He has been president of he organization for the last nine years. It is similar to Dogwood but based in Spokane, Washington. 

Photo courtesy of NC Rural Center

Jackson County resident and executive director of the Southwestern Commission Sarah Thompson is the newest member of the Dogwood Health Trust Board.  Officially known as the  Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission, the regional council of government works with the seven westernmost counties on technical, economic and planning resources.   “I think it's an incredible opportunity for all of WNC, and I'm thrilled to be able to bring my perspective on rural community and economic development to the board,” says Thompson in an email.   Thompson is 14th member of

Mission Health

Mission Hospital has a new CEO at the helm.

On Tues., Mission Health announced in a news release Chad Patrick will serve as CEO for HCA Healthcare’s Mission Hospital, effective in mid- July.

The 763-bed Mission Hospital in Asheville is the flagship hospital for HCA Healthcare’s North Carolina Division.

Lilly Knoepp

The sale of Mission Health System to HCA, created the Dogwood Health Trust. Mission Health has also announced the creatation of a foundation to specifically represent the six westernmost counties in NC.

 

Nantahala Health Foundation will represent Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein will give his blessing to the proposed sale of Mission Health to HCA.  That means Western North Carolina's major health system will go from a non-profit to a for-profit in the coming months.  But before he gave his approval, Stein announced several changes to the proposed sale contract between the two sides after hearing from concerned community members and groups.  Stein made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in Asheville.

Lilly Knoepp

The Mission Health-HCA deal is still being reviewed by Attorney General Josh Stein but Dogwood Health Trust - the nonprofit organization that will be formed with the proceeds from the sale - is already speaking to the community about the best ways to help local nonprofits in the region.

Lilly Knoepp

Former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited Asheville last month to hear from concerned residents about Mission Health’s proposed sale to HCA.  Here’s more on what has happened since that meeting.

 

Risa Larsen is a member of the SEARCH committee. Based in Yancey and Mitchell counties, SEARCH stands for Sustaining Essential and Rural Community Healthcare. They have been one of the most outspoken groups outside of Asheville voicing their concerns about nonprofit Mission Health’s sale to for-profit HCA.

 

Lilly Knoepp

  The Mission Health sale to HCA still sits on the desk of the North Carolina Attorney General waiting for approval. A local group of citizens have invited a former Missouri governor - who worked on a similar deal with HCA - to speak to the Attorney General’s staff in North Carolina about what he learned from his experiences.

Former Missouri governor Jay Nixon has been in public office for over 30 years.

Lilly Knoepp

Mission Health has finalized their deal with HCA but it isn’t done yet. The deal is currently on the desk of NC Attorney General Josh Stein. Stein is expected to approve or amend the deal near the end of November.

Mission Health’s deal will affect 18 counties in Western North Carolina so each community has a chance to send letters to Stein voicing their concerns about the deal or their support.

Lilly Knoepp

  As Mission Health announced its sale to HCA for $1.5 billion dollars, Western North Carolina’s other major hospital system, Duke LifePoint, is going through its own merger. For-profit Duke LifePoint is moving forward in a merger with much larger for-profit healthcare system RCCH Healthcare.

 

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

Jason deBruyn WUNC

The latest numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show for the 2017-18 school year, Buncombe County once again had the highest number of unimmunized students, who opted for a religious exemption.

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Many visits were easy, following the simple routine of parents bringing their tots in for their shots.

Courtesy of Mission Health

Mission Health says its sale to a for-profit company will come with a big payout for all six of its regional hospitals.  The foundations for each of those facilities would receive $15 million dollars each once the sale is completed.

Mission Health Board Chair Dr. John Ball says a contract with for-profit HCA Healthcare should be ready by the end of September, with the sale being completed by the end of the year. The funds will be distributed over the next 3 years. The first $5 million dollar check will come when the sale is finalized.

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