Legislation in North Carolina Senate Would Limit Mission Health's Acquisitions

A bill in the North Carolina Senate would place a moratorium on Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health System's affiliations with other hospitals or physicians until the end of the year or until the state can implement a price cap, according to a Citizen-Times report.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Davis (R), would also place a cap on Mission's employment of physicians by limiting it to 10 percent of physicians in a county. Sen. Davis introduced the legislation in response to what he believes is a "monopoly" by Mission, according to the report.

The bill would amend Mission's certificate of public advantage agreement, which Mission has been operating under since it merged with St. Joseph's Hospital in 1995. The agreement is intended to ensure the merger would not significantly reduce competition in the market, according to the report.

The new legislation comes after a state report to determine if the COPA should be modified. The report found that under the current COPA, Mission could increase prices higher than the COPA seeks to allow and recommends considering the elimination of COPA's cost cap in favor of a price cap. It does, however, find the current 20 percent cap on employment of primary care physicians may be unnecessary.

The legislation calls for the incorporation of the report's findings in the COPA, with some modifications, such as the stricter employment cap.

The legislation is not expected to gain broad support, but if passed could lead to physician shortages and the ultimate closure of Mission, according to Mission's CEO Ronald Paulus.

Read the Citizen-Times report on Mission Health System.

Read more coverage on Mission Health System:

- North Carolina's Transylvania Regional Affiliates With Mission Health

Mission Health System Chooses Dr. Ron Paulus as First Physician CEO

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