Mission CEO Ron Paulus wrote letter to committee about COPA on April 17

On April 17, Mission Health CEO and President Ron Paulus sent a letter to the N.C. House Select Committee on Certificate of Need and Related Hospital Issues. Yesterday, the committee recommended that no changes be made at this time to Mission’s Certificate of Public Advantage. The letter was released to media from Mission Health and is listed below in full:

At the request of Co‐Chairs Steen and Torbett, I’m writing on behalf of Mission Health to confirm that we do not have any suggestions for consideration by the Committee with regard to the Certificate of Public Advantage (“COPA”) statute or the Hospital Cooperation Act.

In the spirit of transparency and to avoid ongoing dialogue regarding “claims” concerning our non‐financial performance under the COPA, we agreed with and are cooperating fully with the State for a thorough compliance review by Dixon Hughes, an independent recognized third‐party auditor. Further, while we continue to seek a clear pathway for an eventual and appropriate termination of the 16 year old COPA, we recognize that this Committee is not the appropriate venue to do so.

Instead, we believe that it is past time to end this COPA discussion entirely, and move on to the real problems facing Western NC. Our patients are older, poorer and sicker with less access to care than the State and nation as a whole. Not surprisingly, they also die more frequently from common diseases (10‐60% more frequently) than the State and nation as whole. Our region’s real challenge has nothing to do with the COPA, but rather to find a way forward to ensure that the physicians and other caregivers necessary to serve this region choose to remain or move here, despite our highly unfavorable demographics that result in more than three‐fourths of Mission’s patients having Medicare, Medicaid or no insurance at all.

At Mission, our BIG(GER) Aim is to ensure that each and every patient – regardless of their ability to pay – achieves the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience. We have been designated one of the nation’s Top 15 Health System (February 2012) and Top 100 Hospitals (for the fourth year, April 2012) by Thomson Reuters. We have been selected as one of America’s ten “How do they do that?” cities by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for our provision of high quality, low cost care, and we have served Western NC (and exclusively Western NC) for more than a century. That’s where our focus must be and where it will remain.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues. Sincerely,
Ronald A. Paulus, M.D.


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