News briefs: HCA completes acquisition of Mission Health; Dogwood Trust established

Mission Hospital
REVENUE RX?: The city of Asheville will receive millions less than expected in taxes from Mission Health's sale to for-profit HCA Healthcare. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Mission Health becomes HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare completed its acquisition of Mission Health, ending 130 years of local ownership of the former nonprofit health care entity.

In a press release, HCA called itself “a leading health care provider with 185 hospitals and approximately 1,800 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom.” The company paid approximately $1.5 billion for the six-hospital Mission Health system, which is now a new operating division of HCA.

The press release included the following “benefits and highlights” of the transaction:

  • HCA Healthcare will build a 120-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital in Asheville.
  • HCA Healthcare will build a new replacement hospital for Angel Medical Center in Franklin.
  • HCA Healthcare will complete the new state-of-the-art Mission Hospital for Advanced Medicine in Asheville.
  • In addition to the new behavioral health hospital, replacement hospital and new tower, HCA Healthcare will invest $232 million in capital in Mission Health facilities.
  • HCA Healthcare will create a $25 million Innovation Fund focused on improving health care service delivery and spurring economic development.
  • Mission Health will adopt HCA Healthcare’s more expansive charity care policy.
  • HCA Healthcare is providing assurances that certain health care services will be maintained.

Dogwood Health Trust established

As a result of the HCA acquisition of Mission Health, proceeds of the sale created the Dogwood Health Trust, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is “to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities in Western North Carolina,” according to a press release from the trust.

DHT reiterated its intent to use its resources to address “social determinants of health” — which include early childhood development, education, economic stability and physical surroundings. One of its first investments, the press release said, “is an agreement to provide $25 million over five years to fund programs and services addressing substance-use disorder for residents of Western North Carolina. As one of Dogwood’s commitments to the N.C. Attorney General’s office in connection with its review of the Mission Health-HCA purchase, the trust will support programs developed by the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.”

The current 11-member DHT board is conducting a national search for a chief executive officer and plans to “hold public meetings in each of Western North Carolina’s three regions to gather input from fellow residents about community needs and funding priorities.”

Blue Ridge Parkway resumes operations

After normal winter operations were put on hold for more than a month due to the partial shutdown of the federal government, Blue Ridge Parkway staff got back to work on Jan. 28. Although the parkway’s visitor centers are now open to the public, some portions of the route remain closed, in part due to a backlog of maintenance issues that went unaddressed during the shutdown.

“We had several weather events before and during the lapse that will continue to impact parkway travel in the coming days and weeks,” said park Superintendent J. D. Lee in a press release. “We appreciate the public’s patience and cooperation as we prioritize work to provide access to this special resource.”

Updated information on the parkway’s status is available online at nps.gov/blri. The nonprofit Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway is also organizing volunteer efforts to assist with the cleanup; more information is available at friendsbrp.org or by calling 540-772-2992.

Nonprofit moves

  • Kate Pett, executive director of the Asheville City Schools Foundation, plans to leave the organization on March 29 to support the development of Thrive Asheville. In a press release announcing her departure, ACSF board of directors President George Sieburg praised Pett’s more than 10 years of “exceptional leadership” and said the organization would engage a consultant to assist in the transition.
  • Beth Maczka, CEO of YWCA Asheville, announced her intention to step down from the role in May. Maczka provided no specific rationale behind the move in a YWCA press release, noting only that it was “time to pass the baton to the next leader.” The organization will hold two listening sessions for community input on its next leader 3-4 and 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the YWCA Multipurpose Room; childcare, light refreshments and Spanish-language interpretation will be available.
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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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