Mission Hospital: Dr. Dale Fell to retire, stepping down as chief medical officer

Press release

From Mission Hospital:

After nine years in a variety of crucial administrative roles with Mission Health, Dale F. Fell, MD, announced his decision to retire and step down as Chief Medical Officer on March 28.

Fell has served as the health system’s Chief Medical Officer since January 2013. He oversees 10 departments and 70 staff.

“Dale Fell has been a remarkable leader in the development and growth of Mission Health,” said Ronald A. Paulus, MD, president and CEO, Mission Health. “Dale has played an incredibly important role throughout a period of dramatic change in health care and at Mission Health, always asking the most important question: ‘What is best for our patients?’ His ability to connect with the larger regional community and with state and regional medical educators has brought to Mission a blend of wisdom and knowledge that will truly be missed, but will be carried on by those who he has touched. He embodies our commitment to our BIG(GER) Aim: To get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience for the patient and family. I will miss him dearly, both personally and professionally.”

Fell came to Asheville in 1997 from Florida. In 2005, he left his private plastic surgery practice to join Mission Hospital administration. Since that time, he has played a significant role in Mission Hospital’s and Mission Health’s growth by creating the departments of Integrative Health, Personalized Medicine and Educational Affairs. Fell played an important role in bringing telemedicine to Mission, and as part of ensuring that western North Carolinians have access to important clinical services, Fell helped to raise funds for a new genetics building, which will be completed this year. He also created the department of Safety Net Relations and worked to develop a strong network of providers to meet the most basic medical needs of the citizens of western North Carolina.

“I walked into Mission Health for the first time two years ago,” said Lynn Boggs, MBA, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Mission Health and President of McDowell Hospital. “As with any new position, there was much to learn and many dynamics to understand. Dr. Fell showed up almost immediately, and became my trusted guide and confidant. He helped us navigate some challenging issues within our medical staff, and kept us forward focused on the BIG(GER) Aim and continuous improvement. I have rarely met someone who exudes such kindness, intelligence and calmness, while also being blessed with a great sense of humor. We have appreciated Dale’s support, and will miss his influence and support very much.”

As part of his efforts in community collaboration, Fell chaired the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), a post he has held since 2008, and one of a dozen boards and steering committees on which he has served. His work with MAHEC has led to the creation of a residency program in dentistry, and fellowships in obstetrics, sports medicine and geriatrics. MAHEC began and completed several major building projects during Fell’s tenure. He also worked with CarePartners, now a member of Mission Health, to establish a palliative care program.”

Dr. Fell has made an enormous and hard to fully measure contribution to health care in western North Carolina,” said Jeff Heck, MD, President and CEO of MAHEC. “As chair of MAHEC’s Board of Directors, he helped propel MAHEC into becoming a national leader in regional health education. During his tenure, he helped bring a UNC medical school campus and a pharmacy school campus to WNC, strengthen MAHEC’s Family Medicine, Ob/Gyn, and Dental residency programs, and regularly advocated for MAHEC to expand primary care to rural areas. Dr. Fell embodies the best of what it means to be a physician – he listens carefully, cares deeply about the best interests of patients and communities, and leads by example. At MAHEC we will all miss his steady and positive presence as our board chair.”

Fell’s relationships with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the leading medical schools in the country, have led to the establishment of critical medical education programs at Mission. As a result of Fell’s work in close collaboration with MAHEC, UNC-Chapel Hill established a formal branch campus for its School of Medicine at Mission, a program identified by reviewers as one of the greatest strengths of its medical education program. Fell also built a program with UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy and local partners to create a branch campus of the pharmacy school in Asheville.

“Dale Fell is an extraordinary champion for the patient, family and the western North Carolina community,” said Kathleen Culhane Guyette, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Mission Health’s Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services. “In his expanded role as the Chief Medical Officer for Mission Health, he has worked tirelessly with the medical staff leadership across the system to establish standards and protocols based on evidence and best practices. He thinks first of how health care providers can craft a system with the patient as its centerpiece, and then methodically and thoughtfully puts into place the structures to ensure that care can occur close to home whenever possible. He has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the people of western North Carolina and will be greatly missed.”

In addition to an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, Fell received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky and completed his Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Fell married his wife, Barbara, nearly 40 years ago, a month before he began medical school. She served as his office and business manager for the twenty years he was in private clinical practice. “Without her love, guidance, and support I would not have been able to grow into my position at Mission nor be nearly as successful,” Fell said. Together, they have many activities planned for retirement, including spending more time with their daughter, Heather, and her two boys in Asheville and their son, Joshua, and his two boys in Raleigh.

About Mission Health
Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. Mission Health was recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems in 2012 and 2013 by Thomson Reuters and Truven Health Analytics, respectively. Mission Health is one of only two medium-sized health systems to receive this recognition in 2012 and 2013, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve that distinction.
Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates five hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 730 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 9,500 employees and 700 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visitmission-health.org.


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