Hospital mergers usually seek one of two approaches: a full affiliation or a management affiliation.
Under the full affiliation that Rutherford is pursuing, Mission acquires the assets of the institution and essentially becomes the owner. When Xpress talked to Mission Health President/CEO Ron Paulus last year, he explained the differentiation between agreements like this: “The management relationship would be like a dating relationship, and the full affiliation is more like marriage."
In that same conversation Xpress with Paulus last year, he said that Mission has no plans of expanding into other states. For more information, see the Oct. 17, 2012, Xpress article, "Let's Get Together: WNC Hospitals Face Financial Pressures to Merge"), which discusses Mission Health and RRHS (you can find the article online at http://avl.mx/ph).