“The only way we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve optimal health is to work together with a shared and well-coordinated commitment to improving our community’s health.”
“The we-know-what-is-best bubble forms when officials lose touch with their own institution’s stated goals and with the community’s pulse.”
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.
“The proposed money and power grab by nonprofit insiders, corporate outsiders, financial underwriters and city mothers/fathers (the crazed clique on the City Council) will undermine this fine institution and set the scene for large health care price increases.”
Josh Stein announced that his office had developed a new agreement after months of “extensive negotiations” involving Mission, HCA and the Dogwood Health Trust. He explained that the changes would strengthen HCA’s community commitments, make the DHT board more representative of its service area and ensure greater accountability for both organizations.
“No one, and I mean no one, is asking whether or not HCA will continue to serve everyone who comes to them for care.”
“Why is it self-interested for people to work to preserve their medical services and ensure diverse representation on the DHT board, but altruistic for Mission board members to anoint themselves or their predecessors?”
“There’s real fear among nonprofit organizations that not supporting the current iteration of the board could mean retaliation in the form of being cut from the $1.5 billion that DHT will control once the sale is final,” wrote Asheville-Buncombe NAACP President Carmen Ramos-Kennedy. “In order to truly build trust, citizens and organizations must feel free to speak their hearts and minds without fear.”
“To me, the biggest question of all is: What is our leverage to make sure this private corporation fulfills its contract?”
In a Sept. 25 open letter, ten local organizations called on the Dogwood Health Trust, which would come into existence to receive the proceeds of the proposed sale of Mission Health to for-profit Healthcare Corporation of America, to ensure proportional representation of women and nonwhites on its board. The signatories also called for all geographic areas served by the trust to be represented.
“As the Dogwood Health Trust forms its board, I urge its founding members to address the underlying determinants of our failing health by investing in a local food system with soil-building at its core.”