CarePartners announces plans to merge with Mission Health

Mission Health President and CEO Ron Paulus talks about the merger. (Photo by Caitlin Byrd)

CarePartners and Mission Health went public with the future of their working relationship today when leaders from the two health care providers announced that CarePartners will seek an affiliation with Mission Health — and work on this affiliation is already under way.

CarePartners and Mission Health signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding today, April 4. According to CarePartners President and CEO Tracy Buchanan, if all goes well, the affiliation with the state’s sixth-largest health system will be official by October. However, she was quick to note that the agreement was borne out of collaboration, not conflict.

“We’re not in dire straits financially. This is not a bailout,” she says.

Instead, Buchanan points to barriers in the health care industry. “For instance, getting information about patients is difficult in this environment,” she says. “We’ll be able to more freely access that information to plan the pathways of care for our patients. We’ll have more timely information. We can give information back to Mission in a more accessible way.”

Mission Health CEO and President Ron Paulus echoes these sentiments. “Right now, typically one out of every five Medicare patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days,” he shares. “Now we’ll be able to joint clinical programming together to care for those transitions to make sure it’s seamless. Our doctors, over time, will be able to access the electronic information about that patient no matter whose database it’s sitting in. We can combine our efforts to provide the most effective care. This is a natural, evolutionary step.”

Paulus says that calling the agreement a merger would be “one way to describe it,” and that the next step to finalizing the merger includes a due-diligence process that will begin immediately. At the end of that process, which Buchanan estimates will be in late July, a contractual agreement will be finalized.

Once this agreement is complete, CarePartners will be an affiliate of Mission Health, much like other hospitals in the Mission Health System. But CarePartners will retain its name and branding. A local nonprofit, CarePartners currently serves close to 3,000 patients each day and specializes in post-acute care in services, ranging from home health to prosthetics.

Paulus notes that by joining forces, the two organizations will more effectively deliver health care to the people of Western North Carolina.

“We only have a modest overlap around what we do, primarily around physical therapy. Over the next number of weeks and months, we’ll be doing some joint strategic planning as part of the due diligence to figure out the best way to work those things together,” he reports. “As health care providers, we have to take responsibility for a population of individuals. That population is not hospital-centric, it’s not doctor-centric and it’s not home-care-centric: It’s the right service at the right time in the right place for that patient with the highest value of care at the lowest possible cost.”

In the immediate future, Buchanan says CarePartners patients won’t notice a change in the delivery of services. But in the future, she says, “We really think that what patients will see is smoother transitions of care and higher quality care in the long run.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.