HCA responds to critics of its management of Mission Health

HCA Healthcare is responding to concerns about its management of Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health, reports Carolina Public Press.

HCA, a for-profit hospital operator based in Nashville, Tenn., acquired six-hospital Mission Health in February 2019. As part of the purchase, Gibbins Advisors was hired to oversee HCA's compliance with deal-related obligations, and it held meetings across Western North Carolina in late January and early February to get feedback.

The meetings revealed that employees, patients and politicians are displeased with HCA's management of Mission Health. Concerns were raised about patient safety, care quality, physician disenfranchisement, staffing and charity care.

One particular concern HCA addressed was the lack of a sexual assault nurse examiner at Angel Medical Center in Franklin, N.C.

Greg Lowe, president of HCA's North Carolina Division, said cuts to these services at Angel and other rural hospitals took place before HCA acquired Mission Health, according to Carolina Public Press.

Mr. Lowe has also said SANE nurses in Asheville were sufficient for the broader region — a contention disputed by nonprofit groups and law enforcement.

HCA also told Carolina Public Press "there have been no cuts to our bedside nursing positions," and that it is "aggressively recruiting for RNs and nurse support positions such as certified nurse assistants, health unit coordinators, patient care technicians and a variety of other nurse support roles."

The operator said it has hired "hundreds of RNs, as well as other bedside caregivers and support team members" as a result of growing inpatient admissions and emergency room visits at the Asheville hospital.

Amid HCA's response, nurses in Asheville are trying to unionize to improve working conditions, a development HCA has characterized as discouraging, Carolina Public Press reported.

The operator's CEO for Mission Health, Chad Patrick, said North Carolina employees will be getting information from the company that may change their minds about forming a union.

Read more about concerns raised and HCA's response in the full report here.  



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