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Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Officially Joins Mission Health

Highlands-CashiersHospital inHighlands, N.C., has completed the process of becoming a member of Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health, the state's sixth-largest health system.

Under the partnership agreement, the Highlands-Cashiers board will maintain a "strong voice" in the hospital's strategic direction, according to a news release. The hospital board will now consist of nine local and three Mission Health representatives. Craig James, the hospital's CEO, will become an employee of the health system, although all other employees will remain as Highlands-Cashiers staff members.

Additionally, the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation — which is responsible for providing financial support for the hospital's capital and operational needs — will continue as a separate entity under local control.

This past August, Highlands-Cashiers and Mission Health finalized a nonbinding memorandum of understanding to affiliate. The critical access hospital expects to gain economies of scale, physician recruiting support and management expertise from joining the health system. Highlands-Cashiers initially decided to pursue the affiliation in September 2012.

"We are gaining the benefits of partnering with one of the nation's top 15 health systems that is devoted exclusively to serving the health care needs in western North Carolina in a community-owned, not-for-profit model," Mr. James said in the release. "This new partnership will provide HCH critically important advantages for ensuring the future of local healthcare services for our area. We also look forward to working together in strengthening our position to navigate the changes in healthcare coming our way from both the state and federal level."

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