ACA health insurance still available for some locals

While the sign-up deadline for health care under the Affordable Care Act passed March 31, some can still sign up, according to an attorney with one of the local nonprofits that has assisted WNC residents in doing so. People who dealt with technical difficulties or have a major life change can still get healthcare under the ACA. Also, due to North Carolina’s government refusing to expand Medicaid, many locals will not face a penalty for not having insurance.

Threading the maze: Local navigators help residents decipher health care law

In this set of short pieces, Xpress looks at the efforts of local organizations and “navigators” to help residents get coverage under the new healthcare law, the reactions they’re seeing so far, information on how to connect with these services and on-the-ground perspectives from a couple of volunteer navigators.

Planned Parenthood of Asheville announces acquisition of permanent medical home-attachment0

Planned Parenthood of Asheville announces acquisition of permanent medical home

After renting a building on Biltmore Avenue for about 15 years, Planned Parenthood’s Asheville Health Center will begin providing sexual and reproductive health services in a permanent setting by the end of the year. The announcement came at the nonprofit’s fundraiser and 35th anniversary celebration on Thursday night. (Pictured: Bonnie Smith, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood, makes the announcement. Photo by Caitlin Byrd)

Is there a doctor in the hills?-attachment0

Is there a doctor in the hills?

The sometimes challenging road to health care in rural Western North Carolina extends beyond the curves of country back roads. Whether it’s dealing with the current physician shortage that affects all but Madison in the 16-county region or wrestling with social and economic barriers, local providers and patients share their challenges and plans to address rural health-care needs. (Cover by Emily Busey. Photo by Max Cooper.)

State officials to visit Asheville, will discuss Gov. McCrory’s Medicaid proposal-attachment0

State officials to visit Asheville, will discuss Gov. McCrory’s Medicaid proposal

As part of an ongoing effort to speak with North Carolinians about Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed changes to the way the state’s Medicaid program operates, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos and N.C. Medicaid Director Carol Steckel will give a presentation about the plan in Asheville on Monday, April 22. This presentation is intended for the provider community, and will be held at 11:30 a.m. at MAHEC Education Center at 121 Hendersonville Road.

State tells Western Highlands Network its contract will end in July

On Friday, April 5, the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance notified the Asheville-based Western Highlands Network that it’s terminating its contract, effective July 31. WHN coordinates mental-health, substance-abuse and developmental-disability services in in Madison, Mitchell, Yancey, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, Polk and Rutherford counties.

Ron Paulus on health care reform: “This is the beginning of a story, not the end”-attachment0

Ron Paulus on health care reform: “This is the beginning of a story, not the end”

Hours after the Supreme Court announced its landmark ruling on health care, Mission Health CEO and President Ron Paulus made his own statement about what the 5-4 ruling means on the local level. His verdict? The ripple effect of health care reform remains to be seen. Above, Paulus reads his statement about the ruling. (Photo by Caitlin Byrd)

Project Access is a model program

I wish to express my kudos to the wonderful work Project Access is doing to help people gain access to needed medical care [“Wellness,” Jan. 25 Xpress]. I am currently benefiting from the program as I injured my shoulder last summer and it consequently "froze" up to where I became basically disabled and very challenged […]

What shall we do without us?

A few weeks ago I broke my knee. It was a big dramatic affair with a 911 call, firefighters and an ambulance ride. I rode in the ambulance to Mission ER, with an emergency medical-services worker taking my blood pressure, covering me with a blanket, talking to me reassuringly, and yet with the seriousness of […]


I would like to thank Ned Ryan Doyle for his Commentary about the Southern Energy & Environment Expo [“WNC at a crossroads,” Aug. 24 Xpress]. S.E.E. Expo provided great exposure to sustainable technology and lifestyles. It will be missed. Alternative energy is the future of America, but fringe movements have distracted us with cult-like agendas. […]

State denies Mission, Pardee request for new endoscopy center

The state put the brakes on Mission Health and Pardee Hospital’s proposal to relocate an endoscopy center from Asheville to Fletcher today, Aug. 26. Mission officials say they’re committed to moving forward with the plan. But state legislators have their eye on the Asheville-based hospital. In a climate that’s seen allegations that Mission may have a monopoly in the region, state legislators today formed a new commission that will study several key aspects of issue.

“The challenges I face are still the same as somebody that owns any other business down the street.” photo by Jonathan Welch

Is there a doctor in the house? Economics driving local physicians into large group practices

When Dr. Robert Fields and Dr. Andy Runkle opened Vista Family Health in 2003, Mission Medical Associates wasn’t even a blip on the radar. For Fields, Vista represented the culmination of a long-held dream. Growing up in a Puerto Rican family in the U.S., Fields longed to open a practice that could serve both Latinos […]