Mission Health

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.

Courtesy of Mission Health

As Mission Health negotiates a deal for sale with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), one of the biggest concerns for the Western North Carolina community is the closure of small rural hospitals within the system from Franklin to Spruce Pine.

Mayor of Franklin Bob Scott and Mayor of Highlands Pat Taylor have both called for greater transparency from Mission and HCA during the current due diligence process. Mission has answered that call with Facebook Live panels to share finding from Mission representatives during visits to HCA locations and meetings with HCA officials.

Photo courtesy of Mission Health

Highlands-Cashiers Hospital will stick with Mission through its potential sale to Hospital Corporation of America.

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper says there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered about Mission Health’s proposed sale to a for-profit healthcare company.  Mission announced last week it was entering negotiations to be purchased by HCA Healthcare, a for-profit company based in Nashville that operates hospitals in 20 states and the United Kingdom.  Speaking to reporters after an event for students to learn about jobs in healthcare at Mission’s Cancer Center Tuesday morning, Governor Cooper said he hopes the sale leads to a positive outcome for Western North Carolina and t

Mission Health this week announced it was beginning to negotiations to be purchased HCA Healthcare, a for-profit healthcare company based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission, which operates the majority of hospitals in Western North Carolina and is one of the region's largest employers, says the potential deal will allow the healthcare system to "preserve and expand" their "world-class quality of care within a rapidly consolidating healthcare industry."

Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced they have reached an agreement, allowing patients covered by the North Carolina's largest insurer will be 'in-network' at facilities operated by Western North Carolina's largest healthcare provider.  The announcement comes exactly two months after Mission officially terminated its contract with Blue Cross.  Their new agreement takes affect on December 15th.

Both sides released a joint statement announcing the agreement -

Just over a month after Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross expired, the two organizations have gone back to the negotiating  table.  A Blue Cross spokesman confirmed by email that talks are underway, saying, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mission Health have entered into discussions regarding a future network participation agreement and will refrain from public comment until those talks are completed.”

BPR News

The open enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is just around the corner, and uncertainty about costs, subsidies and what policies will actually cover is still growing.  Adding to the anxiety for consumers in Western North Carolina, the only insurer on the exchange is still at odds with the region’s largest health care provider.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports

As of Thursday, Mission Health says its contract with Blue Cross has expired and "essentially all Mission Health physicians and facilities are now out-of-network providers with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina."

Thursday October 5th is the 'termination date' for the contract between Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina.  If no agreement between the two is reached by then, customers of North Carolina's largest insurer will find themselves 'out of network' for non-emergency visits at facilities operated by Western North Carolina's largest healthcare provider.  This would affect hundreds of thousands of people in the region, meaning they would either have to pay more for non-emergency visits, or switch insurers and/or doctors.  There has been little movement between both sides sin

Mission Health announced Thursday it wants to continue accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but only for those who receive it through the healthcare exchange set up through the Affordable Care Act.  But the insurer rejected Mission's offer, saying it's unfair to those who have Blue Cross Blue Shield through other means, such as their jobs.

Pexels

Mission Health says it may stop accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance later this year, a major decision that would affect thousands throughout Western North Carolina.  Mission said in a statement that if no agreement is reached by October 4th, Blue Cross Blue Shield members would not have ‘in-network’ access to its facilities.  That means patients would have to seek care elsewhere, or pay more out of pocket. 

Operation Heartbeat Two

On the heels of Mission Health’s controversial decision to end Labor and Delivery services at Angel Medical Center, health system officials recently met with concerned citizens of Macon County for a so-called ‘sit-down’.

Mission Health, a hospital system in Western North Carolina, announced this week that it would close its maternity ward at Angel Hospital in Franklin, North Carolina. The hospital serves a mostly low-income, rural population. Mission Health said it cut the hospital’s labor and delivery services to remain solvent in the face of low reimbursement rates.

Davin Eldridge

Angel Medical Center’s board of directors  made it official – later this year, the far-western North Carolina hospital will no longer deliver babies.

Mission Health’s explanation of why it’s ending deliveries at Angel Medical Center – because it loses more than $1-million a year doing so – isn’t sitting well with Macon County residents. Local leadership, including Franklin Mayor Bob Scott and County Commissioner Gary Shields, both pledged their support to locals in protest of Mission Health, and encouraged them to reach out to local government for help.  

Matt Bush BPR

Mission Health says its decision to stop delivering babies at Angel Medical Center in Macon County was made to keep the hospital open.  Mission estimates around 400 children a year are currently born at the Franklin facility, roughly one per day.  CEO Dr. Ronald Paulus says labor and delivery care at Angel Medical loses the hospital between $1 and $2-million per year, which he says puts all the other healthcare done at the facility in jeopardy. “We can’t let one program, even important, put all of the care at risk for a rural community.  We just can’t do it.”

Angel Medical Center, Mapio.net

The decision to stop delivering babies at a Macon County hospital is proving to be an unpopular one in the mountains.  

Angel Medical Center in Franklin has been in the business of delivering babies for more than sixty years, but all of that is about to change come mid-summer.  Mission Health, which runs the small community hospital, announced it will be discontinuing child labor and delivery services at the facility in July.  The decision is unpopular with young people in Macon County.

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