An unprecedented opportunity to move Mission Health forward for western North Carolina

A Message to the Community from the

Mission Health Board of Directors

“HCA Healthcare appreciates that Mission Health has the capacity to continue its work alone, and yet we both recognize that meeting our core missions could be achieved more effectively together. It is a tribute to the Mission Health Board and team that we are in such a position of strength that we can make the best choice for our people, our patients and our communities.”

-Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and CEO, Mission Health, March 21, 2018

Our Commitment to Western North Carolina

Together we are moving Mission Health forward, ensuring healthy vibrant communities and world-class healthcare for western North Carolina. Click a point on the map to explore what each of our hospitals and healthcare facilities has to offer.

“Mission Health has a more than 130-year tradition of caring for communities throughout western North Carolina, and we are excited to formalize discussions with them about how we can help continue their impressive legacy.”

– Milton Johnson, Chairman and CEO, HCA Healthcare, March 21, 2018

Our Commitment to Our Team Members

Frequently Asked Questions

After a careful and thorough search, Mission Health’s Board is assured that HCA Healthcare is right for our team, patients and communities. HCA Healthcare intends to grow here in western North Carolina by investing in increased access to care, expansion of existing and new services and supporting our communities with the creation of a very significant foundation, which would be administered by people in our communities for the people who live in our communities. With tens of millions of dollars to invest annually, the foundation’s potential is life-changing.  The Board was also impressed with HCA Healthcare’s nine consecutive years of being designated as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by the global leader in advancing the standards of ethical business practices, the Ethisphere Institute.

As Mission Health moves through this process, we pledge to be as transparent as possible and share information in a timely manner. We also have created a website dedicated to keeping our patients, team members and communities informed. We invite you to visit www.MissionHealthForward.org regularly.

HCA Healthcare has a proven track-record of making meaningful investments in its communities – not just for its healthcare operations but beyond.  A key component of this agreement, should it move forward, is the creation of a very substantial foundation.  While the final details still need to be worked out, its assets will be focused on the people who live in our communities.  With the potential of tens of millions of dollars or more available every year for improving the health of the residents of western North Carolina and beyond, the possibilities of this new foundation are nothing short of transformational.  In addition, HCA Healthcare will pay local and state property, sales, use and other taxes that will support our local community governments.

HCA Healthcare has unique scale benefits and broader capabilities that are difficult, if not impossible, to match.  Understanding the unique, special needs of our patients, particularly those in remote and rural areas, we look forward to the possibility of expanding access and accelerating improvements while gaining efficiencies.

A key component of this agreement, should it move forward, is the creation of a very substantial foundation.  While the final details still need to be worked out, its assets will be focused on the people who live in our communities.  With the potential of tens of millions of dollars or more available every year to improve the health of the residents of western North Carolina and beyond, the possibilities of this new foundation are nothing short of transformational.  That’s great news for our patients and communities!

HCA Healthcare is attracted to Mission Health for many reasons, including the reputation of Mission Health clinicians and broader team to deliver best-in-class care and patient outcomes and our shared commitment to innovation.  Mission joining HCA Healthcare would also be HCA Healthcare’s entry into North Carolina allowing for additional growth opportunities.

There are far more similarities than there are differences.  Fundamentally, all hospitals are obligated to meet the same federal and state requirements and are held to the same quality and patient safety standards.  One obvious difference is that for-profit organizations pay taxes, which helps benefit communities.  Here is a quick comparison.

HCA Healthcare has committed to maintain Mission Health’s charity care policies.  It also has a long history of caring for all members of the communities they serve, especially patients who participate in programs like Medicaid and Medicare.  HCA Healthcare is committed to giving back to their communities, providing $2.8 billion in uncompensated care, meaning they subsidize gaps in Medicare and Medicaid payments and cover costs of care for uninsured patients. Additionally, HCA Healthcare donated $23.6 million in cash contributions to local charitable organizations last year alone.

Government, businesses and payors are demanding that healthcare providers assume more risk and continually reduce costs.  As a result, healthcare mergers and acquisitions are taking place across our country and our state at an unprecedented pace. The Mission Board, all of whom are community members who care deeply about ensuring access to high quality care for the people of western North Carolina for generations to come, knew that it was essential that we act from a position of strength to shape our desired future. Given the inevitability of consolidation, we wanted it to be our choice long before we are forced to make one. It’s from this position of strength that we are able to ensure that our selected choice is as invested as we are in our mission, people, patients, providers and communities.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) means that the parties have mutually agreed to further evaluate a potential relationship between them using a defined process and within certain parameters.  Said another way, the LOI provides an outline of what an agreement might ultimately look like but it is fully contingent upon additional information and is non-binding.

Our goal in pursuing joining HCA Healthcare is to be an even stronger organization going forward than we would be alone.  While some positions will likely change or be eliminated over time due to changes in market demand as they have been for years, we do not anticipate significant changes, but beyond what we typically experience or that would be required as we evolved and expanded our organization alone, without an HCA Healthcare relationship.  Additionally, HCA Healthcare plans to invest and grow here so, importantly, we do expect new jobs and new opportunities to be created – particularly for clinical staff.

HCA Healthcare intends to use Mission Health as its platform for growth and expansion across the region.  They plan to invest and grow here so, importantly, we do expect new jobs and new opportunities to be created – particularly for clinical staff.  Fundamental to HCA Healthcare’s philosophy is to provide the support and resources needed for local leaders, service providers and clinicians to best meet the needs of their patients, with the same high-quality care they have come to expect and deserve.

HCA Healthcare was founded 50 years ago by two physicians in Nashville, Tennessee.  It is one of the nation’s most respected healthcare providers, operating 177 locally managed hospitals and 119 surgery centers located in 20 states and in the United Kingdom.  HCA Healthcare does not presently have any operations in North Carolina.  HCA Healthcare is committed to the care and improvement of human life and shares our deeply held commitment to our people, patients and communities.  HCA Healthcare offers hundreds of clinical trials each year as part of its commitment to advancing medicine and, for the past nine years, HCA Healthcare has been named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” You can learn more about HCA Healthcare here.

The good news is that access to the same high-quality of care patients deserve and have come to expect from Mission Health will not change should we join HCA Healthcare and there is a respected body of data to support this.  According to a 2014 study by the Harvard School of Public Health, switching from not-for-profit to for-profit status does not lower the quality of care they provide nor reduce access for poor or minority patients.

Absolutely not.  First, it is inconsistent with their mission and the Hippocratic Oath sworn by its founding physicians.  Second, federal law protects patients who are in need of emergent care, and it is illegal to require up-front payments for that care.  Those laws apply to all hospitals — whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit.  A report by Harvard School of Public Health confirmed that not-for-profit hospitals and health systems switching to for-profit status maintained their level of care for poor patients or at-risk populations.

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