Wellness roundup: HCA’s independent monitor hosts community meetings

RSVP: Dogwood Health Trust announced Jan. 2 it is seeking proposals to provide independent monitor services to oversee HCA Healthcare. Photo by Jen Castillo

Gibbins Advisors, the independent monitor for HCA Healthcare, will hold a community meeting about Mission Hospital, CarePartners and Mission Children’s Hospital for members of the public at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19, at The Scenic Hotel Cypress/Maple Room, 184 Hendersonville Road.

The independent monitor will provide an update and HCA’s 15 commitments, which can be found at avl.mx/d1o, and answer questions from the audience. The independent monitor was appointed when HCA, a for-profit health care system, purchased the nonprofit Mission Hospital for $1.5 billion in 2019. Gibbins Advisors is paid by Dogwood Health Trust, a nonprofit that was created during the sale of Mission Health to HCA.

Gibbins Advisors will also hold individual meetings about Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard, Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Cashiers, Mission Hospital McDowell and Blue Ridge Hospital in October and November. The dates, times and locations for those community meetings can be found at avl.mx/wordcapg.

All community meetings are in-person and open to all members of the public, though space may be limited depending on attendance.

New COVID vaccines available

The Buncombe County Health and Human Services received a supply of updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for adults and children who have health insurance and for children who are uninsured. BCHHS also has the updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 12-18 who are uninsured or who have Medicaid.

The BCHHS Immunization Clinic, 40 Coxe Ave., has walk-in hours 8-11:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 1-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Individuals can also schedule a vaccination appointment during those same hours by calling 828-250-5096. More information is at avl.mx/d1m.

Free COVID-19 tests are available at BCHHS and other locations. Households can also receive four free rapid antigen COVID-19 by mail through www.covid.gov/tests.

Updates on Steady Collective

Harm reduction nonprofit Steady Collective announced new locations and hours for its outreach. Sessions will be held 1:30-4 p.m. Tuesdays at 25 Balm Grove Ave.; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the parking lot of Sly Grog Lounge at 271 Haywood St.; and 2-5 p.m. Fridays at 265 State St. All of Steady Collective’s services, including naloxone distribution, syringe exchange and wound care, are free and confidential. For more information visit avl.mx/d1v.

Asheville nurses rally with AFL-CIO

Mission Hospital nurses who are members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United held a rally for workers’ rights in Pack Square Park on Sept. 7. Hannah Drummond, a registered nurse at Mission Hospital and a member of NNOC/NNU was a featured speaker alongside MaryBe McMillan, president of the N.C. State AFL-CIO and other state labor leaders.

Mission RNs began holding rallies after HCA purchased Mission. Following the sale, health care professionals and former patients alleged that care declined, citing problems such as long patient wait times.

Mission RNs announced their intention to pursue labor representation in early 2020 and voted for representation by NNOC/NNU later that year. It is the country’s largest nurse union and represents more than 1,500 registered nurses at Mission Hospital.

Trauma nurses join AHS football games

Beginning with the fall 2023 football season, nurses with acute care training will join the medical sideline team for Asheville High School home football games. The nurses from Mission Hospital’s emergency and trauma department will join the existing Mission Health Sports Medicine team consisting of a physician, a primary care sports medicine fellow and an athletic trainer.

In the event of an injury, the trauma nurse can assist the physician with care such as sutures or staples or IV administration.

Nutrition education

Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation donated $2,000 to YWCA of Asheville for the nutrition program. The YWCA of Asheville’s Healthy Meals Kitchen prepares breakfast, lunch and snacks for children in its early childhood education program. The nonprofit will use the donation for child-friendly family cooking demos and family-centered nutrition education.

Community kudos

  • Ten Mission Health nurses have been recognized by the Great 100, Inc., which honors registered nurses across the state. Jodie Becker, Kelly Bowers, Jenny Bradley, Viche Castleberry, Robin Clendenin, Tiffany Davall, Kevin Hancock, Brittany Hart and Ashley Sundheim at Mission Hospital, and Tiffany Rose at Mission Hospital McDowell, were nominated by their peers and scored on their commitment to patients, outcomes in their practice setting and other attributes.
  • UNC Health Pardee welcomes family medicine physician Dr. Evan Beasley as medical director of care delivery for Pardee BlueMD. Pardee BlueMD, at 2695 Hendersonville Road, Suite 200, Arden, is a federally qualified health center. FQHCs offer sliding scale fees and will see all patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Dr. Beasley is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 828-694-8420.
  • Harris Urology, a department of Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, welcomes family nurse practitioner Kara Cummings. Cummings is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 828-631-8755.
  • UNC Health Pardee welcomes Drs. Corey Beals and J. Gregory Mawn to Southeastern Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. Beals specializes in orthopedic sports and shoulder surgery, while Mawn specializes in hip, joint and knee replacement. Both doctors are accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 828-274-4555.
  • Harris Medical Associates at Harris Regional Hospital welcomes family medicine physician Dr. Amanda Fernandez. Dr. Fernandez specializes in primary care, including women’s health. She speaks both Spanish and English and is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 828-586-8971.
  • Duke LifePoint Healthcare appointed Ashley Hindman as chief executive officer of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. Hindman has served as chief financial officer of the hospital system since 2019.

Save the date

  • Buncombe County Health and Human Services will offer a free community overdose reversal training noon-1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at 40 Coxe Ave. The training will include one free Narcan kit while supplies last, as well as information about preventing and responding to overdoses. For more information about harm reduction in Buncombe County, visit avl.mx/czf.
  • Trip-sitter and psychedelic guide J. Andrew Phillips will teach his workshop “Beginner’s Guide to Psychedelics,” which will cover the use of psilocybin mushrooms. DMT, ketamine and MDMA, 2-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, at The Well, 3 Louisiana Ave. A $10-$30 donation is requested. Register at avl.mx/d1l.
  • Asheville Parks and Recreation is hosting a hike for women, people who identify as women and nonbinary folks 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 8. Participants should be able to walk three to five miles on uneven terrain. Transportation will be provided to the location; the trail will be announced one week before the event based on weather conditions. Registration is $5 at avl.mx/czb.
  • The Invision Diagnostics mobile mammography bus will be parked 2-7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 23, at Hillman Beer, 25 Sweeten Creek Road. Women ages 35-39 are eligible for one scan during those four years; women ages 40 and over are eligible for a mammogram annually. Patients must schedule an appointment in advance and have a primary care provider for the mobile radiologist to send results to. Patients should bring an insurance card and driver’s license. (Hillman Beer will cover mammograms for three women who do not have insurance on a first come, first serve basis.) To schedule an appointment, visit avl.mx/d1w.
  • Henderson County Parks & Recreation is hosting a pickleball tournament 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 708 South Grove St. The tournament will be open for men’s doubles and women’s doubles. The fee is $10 per person, and participants can register at avl.mx/d1x.
  • The Buncombe County Violence Prevention Task Force will host a presentation from Helpmate about the intersection of domestic violence and substance use on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 6-7 p.m., at East Asheville Public Library, 3 Avon Road. The discussion is open to the public, and ASL and Spanish interpretation will be available. Dinner will be provided. RSVP at avl.mx/d1k.

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About Jessica Wakeman
Jessica Wakeman is an Asheville-based reporter for Mountain Xpress. She has been published in Rolling Stone, Glamour, New York magazine's The Cut, Bustle and many other publications. She was raised in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from New York University. Follow me @jessicawakeman

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