While the trust’s professional leadership remains under consideration, board chair Janice Brumit confirms that its board has filled out its inaugural complement of 14 members from WNC. After the nonprofit hires its inaugural CEO and finishes its strategic plan later this year, she estimates that other organizations will be able to apply for its grants starting in the spring of 2020 and receive money the following fall.
While returning repeatedly to messages of growth and their commitment to long-term investments in the region’s health care infrastructure, the CEO and CFO for HCA Healthcare’s new North Carolina division also responded to questions about the company’s business model, staffing and morale in a June 20 meeting with local media.
“On Wednesday, April 10, Wendell Potter, former vice president of communications for health insurance giant Cigna, will speak on Transforming Healthcare in America at two public forums in Asheville.”
The sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare means several changes to organizations and services once affiliated with Mission, including a shift of adult day care services from CarePartners to a new nonprofit, MountainCare.
“We’ll continue to chase our tails and flail about looking to deliver fairness and equity on par with efficiency and quality as long as profit is the driver.”
“In scope, it compares with the ill-advised, Democratically led, but bipartisan-supported effort [circa 2005] to steal Asheville’s water system.”
“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 population of Western North Carolina will not magically change if and when this sale occurs; we will still have low- and middle-income people with no health insurance who may get hit with exorbitant medical bills.”
“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?”
Earlier this summer, Kenilworth residents followed up on a complaint first sent to the city of Asheville in September 2017. They allege that changes Mission has made to address their noise concerns haven’t eliminated the problem — and that the health system wasn’t acting in good faith when it entered into discussions with the community.
“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.”
At the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual Elected Officials Reception on Aug. 16, local politicians acknowledged that the intensity of recent city and county government scandals have sometimes pushed other issues to the side.
HCA’s purchase price for the system, plus Mission’s remaining net cash and investments, would fund a nonprofit foundation specifically devoted to boosting public health in the region. At a meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners, President and CEO Ron Paulus claimed that the new organization’s assets, which could range from $1 billion to $2 billion depending on the final sale price, would make it one of the three largest foundations in North Carolina and the richest foundation per capita anywhere on the planet.
With the potential of tax revenues from the proposed acquisition of Mission Health by a for-profit company looming on the horizon, members of City Council’s Finance Committee heard several proposals on March 29 that would help balance the city’s FY 2018-19 budget.