Urologists retreat from HCA Mission hospital: Report

About two years ago, Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Hospital had 10 urologists on call. By July 4, that number could drop to two specialists caring for an area of more than 950,000 residents, Asheville Watchdog reported May 22. 

One urologist left in October, another was terminated in January, and a third plans to resign July 4 because "the current and future state of Urology at Mission is incompatible with my personal and professional priorities at this point in my life and career," according to emails obtained by the news outlet. 

Two years ago, five urologists at Asheville Urological Associates revoked their practice privileges at the hospital. Brian Cohen, MD, who worked at Mission Urology for more than a decade, told the Watchdog the urologists faced heavier workloads after AUA decided to end its relationship with Mission. Dr. Cohen said he was terminated in January without cause. 

The slimming workforce follows a yearslong trend: Mission's cancer center lost its last oncologist in 2023, and multiple hospitalists and physicians have left since Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare bought Mission in 2019. Between 2022 and 2023, hundreds of nurses have also made their exit, according to Asheville Watchdog

Multiple former employees did not want to comment on their departures or did not respond to requests for comment. 

"As with any job, there are various reasons why people leave. Out of respect for our current and former employees, we do not discuss personnel matters publicly," a Mission spokesperson told Becker's. "Mission Hospital has urologists on its medical staff and, with its affiliates, continues to recruit for any open positions. In Asheville, we are fortunate to have employed and community-based urologists who collaborate in care for patients."

HCA Mission did not share specific figures with Becker's but said it has "about the same number of urologists as we've always had to serve the needs of our community."

In December, North Carolina's attorney general filed a lawsuit against HCA, alleging the system cut emergency and cancer care at Mission Health System. 

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