HCA Healthcare
February 28, 2019

SOURCE: Asheville Citizen Times

Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart-aleck answers and the real deal:

Question: Here is another Mission Hospital question. Will Mission keep its name? Also, what happens to the St. Joseph's building? Do they still have patients over there? Will it be torn down? A lot of your readers, including me, were born there.

My answer: I'm not an expert on these things, but I'm going to offer the Mission folks a pro tip here: Remove the patients before demolishing the building. You're welcome.

Real answer: Mission Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Lindell answered the name change question.

"As for Mission’s name; from 1885 when a small group of women set out to establish a place where the sick could heal, to a six-hospital health system providing some of the nation’s highest quality of care with the compassion and integrity we were founded upon across all of western North Carolina and beyond, our name is and remains Mission," Lindell said. "Mission Health is the local market brand for our patients, employees and Western North Carolina communities."

The $1.5 billion sale of nonprofit Mission Health to HCA Healthcare, a for-profit corporation based in Nashville, Tennessee, officially went through on Feb. 1.

The emergency entrance of Mission Hospital. (Photo: Angeli Wright/awright@citizen-times.com)

In a late January Answer Man column, Sonya Greck, senior vice president at Mission Health, said no final decision has been made regarding the St. Joseph's campus, which is on the east side of Biltmore Avenue, across the street from the main campus. The St. Joseph's campus is still in use.

"A decision about the future of the St. Joseph campus has not yet been determined," Greck said via email. "There is a dedicated team of individuals exploring the many options for and the related outcomes that will come from this decision. Because of the importance to the Mission campus and the community, we are not taking these assessments lightly."

The sale contract leaves the use and/or development of the St. Joseph's campus open-ended. One section did seem to assure continued care for two years at least in the Long-Term Acute Care at St. Joseph's.

Question: A recent column of yours referred to the Asheville App, which I have used in the past, and my request was efficiently responded to. I'm wondering if Buncombe County has a similar app? Or other types of apps for county issues?

My answer: I used the county's Wanda Greene app once and ended up with a $3 million life insurance policy and 2,400 tic tac toe wall hangings. Awkward.

Real answer: "Buncombe County does not have an app similar to the Asheville App," said Kassi Day, Buncombe County spokeswoman. "However, we do feed our parking garage vacancy information to the Asheville App."

The county has taken steps to be friendly to all of us with mobile devices.

"We have designed our website to be mobile responsive, making it easy to access information or leave us feedback via the Let’s Talk button from a phone or tablet," Day said. "Discover.buncombecounty.org is an app-like tool that allows users to plug in an address and access information about that property, nearby parks, pools, and libraries, as well as voting information and crime incidents."

The county also recently launched "the Trailblazer Bus Finder" powered by Google Transit that allows users to plug in departure/destination addresses and find a route using public transit.

"During an election we offer a Wait-Time map that allows users to see how many people are in line at early voting locations," Day said.

This is the opinion of John Boyle. Contact him at 828-232-5847 or jboyle@citizentimes.com.