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N.C. official challenges Mission sale plan
Thursday, 03 January 2019 12:09

From Staff Reports

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told Asheville’s WLOS-TV News 13 in early December that he wants additional protections for rural Western North Carolina hospitals and their services — to ensure the interests of area residents are protected. — before he signs off on the HCA Healthcare deal to buy Mission Hospital for $1.5 billion.

“There has been an outpouring of communication from people,” Stein told News 13 in a Dec. 5 report. “This is our office’s top priority.”

At that time, News 13 noted that Stein said he has no deadline since he is still asking for information on the deal. “Once he has what he wants,” News 13 reported, “Stein said the clock ticks on a 60-day review he has before deciding whether to approve or contest the sale. Stein said HCA and Mission have provided requested information so far.”

Stein told reporters, “This is one of the biggest conversions of a nonprofit in the state’s history. It is so complicated, and I’m going to take whatever time is necessary to protect the people of Western North Carolina.”

News 13 also reported, “Stein has hired Stout, a consulting agency out of Chicago, to do an independent valuation of the proposed sale price.”

Regarding Stout, Stein said, “They report to us. They’re contracted by us. They work for me. They’re finishing up their assessment, so we hope to get their report any day now.”

The attorney general noted to News 13 that his  chief objective is to convince HCA to extend the current five-year protection for rural hospital services.

The TV station quoted Stein as saying, “There needs to be greater certainty in terms of what HCA’s commitments are in terms of what services they’ll provide and how long they’re committed to keeping open the rural hospitals. That is what I’m fighting hard to do.” 

Stein also told News 13 that wants more diversity on the Dogwood Trust Board, responsible with eventually overseeing a huge trust fund that will be given to health programs and services. 

To that end, on Dec. 5, Mission announced it added two women to the board, a banker from Henderson County and a teacher from Buncombe County.

Meanwhile, the Asheville Citizen Times reported Dec. 4 that Stein had listed three major concerts in the Mission sale, including:

• “Are the provisions to ensure continuation of specific health care services at Mission Hospital and the five rural hospitals in the system strong enough?

• “Is the roughly $1.5 billion HCA proposes to pay enough?

• “Will the board of the foundation to get money from a sale be diverse and truly representative of WNC?”



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