WNC Healthcare

Lilly Knoepp

  Yesterday, we heard about a lack of homeless shelters between Waynesville and Murphy.  Today, we look at a similar gap in substance abuse treatment centers in the same 80-mile distance. In Macon County here is a new treatment facility that hopes to fill that gap:  

Hazelwood Healthcare sits along Highway 441 to Georgia just past Franklin. It opened this week. 

“This is where you come back.” 

Courtesy of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital

  Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Murphy will close its labor and delivery unit next month. BPR spoke with hospital CEO Mark Kimball about how the decision was reached: 

Erlanger, a nonprofit-Chattanooga based health system purchased Murphy Medical Center in 2018. When the hospital was purchased it was in trouble says CEO Mark Kimball.  He adds decisions like closing the labor and delivery will hopefully keep the hospital profitable.

Courtesy of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital

Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Murphy has announced that it will be closing its Labor and Delivery services the first week of December. The OB/GYN practice will then close on December 31.  

Lilly Knoepp

The North Carolina General Assembly is back in session this week.  But it will not be taking up the vetoed state budget – meaning a major cut to mental health care providers in Western North Carolina will stay in place for now.

BPR talks to one local mental health provider about how this will impact the community: 

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.

Lilly Knoepp

 For the first time ever, North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties met to discuss how to solve the opioid crisis.  BPR was at the summit in Bryson City.

For Graham County Commissioner Connie Orr, the issue is personal. Her son has been battling addiction since he was prescribed Vicodin at 15 years old. He’s now 51. 

“From that time until now my son has been fighting the addiction of opiates which has moved not only to opiates but to heroin, meth or any drug that is available right now,” says Orr. 

Lilly Knoepp

  As part of the sale of Mission Health to HCA, the for-profit health system promised to build a new hospital in Macon County.  BPR talked to Angel Medical Center’s CEO about when ground will be broken for the new facility.

A new Angel Medical Center was in the works long before the HCA sale says CEO and CNO Karen Gorby.

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. 

Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust has announced another member of their board of directors. 

The non-profit health foundation that was formed when Mission Health sold to for-profit HCA Health announced that Dr. Donna Tipton-Rogers  will join the board. 

A Cherokee County native and graduate of Murphy High School, Tipton-Rogers became the first woman to serve as president of Tri-County Community College in 2007. 

Lilly Knoepp

Nantahala Health Foundation has hired Lori Bailey as executive director of the organization. The new nonprofit health foundation formed after the February sale of Mission Health to for-profit HCA Health.

Lilly Knoepp

  It’s been almost six months since Mission Health was sold to for-profit HCA Health. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein visited two Mission Hospitals this week to see how the aftermath of the sale is transpiring.  BPR caught up with him at Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. 

 

Lilly Knoepp

The Dogwood Health Trust Foundation has officially opened up the search for a CEO.

The organization, which was created by the sale of Mission Health to for-profit HCA Health, has posted a leadership profile on their website with details about applying for the position.

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.

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.