Mission Health COPA Compliance Confirmed by Independent Assessment

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2012) – Mission Health (Mission) reported today that the independent accounting firm of Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (DHG) has released reports related to its recent assessment of Mission’s compliance with its Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA). DHG was retained by the State of North Carolina to perform an Agreed Upon Procedures engagement (the “Assessment”) to assess and issue a report of findings on Mission’s COPA compliance during the prior five-year period (2007-2011). DHG also separately evaluated Mission’s operating costs and margin in 2011. The combined results, which have been provided to the North Carolina House Select Committee on CON and other Hospital Related Issues and now made available to both Mission and the general public, overwhelmingly confirm Mission’s thorough compliance with the COPA.

“We at Mission are not surprised, but we are absolutely delighted with the results of this Assessment,” said Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and CEO of Mission Health. “Each and every matter of COPA significance, whether related to contracting with or employing physicians, controlling costs, or contracting with insurance companies was fully compliant without exception. As just one example, the cost of care at Mission is $426 less per case than comparable hospitals, and Mission’s operating margin was $62.3 million lower than the COPA would have allowed over the last five years because our prices are lower.”

Dr. Paulus continued: “Bottom line: as expected, these reports simply confirm what we have always known: Mission has been fully compliant with the COPA while delivering exceptional health care, in an affordable, patient-centered manner without regard to an individual’s ability to pay. It’s past time for everyone to focus on the actual issues of importance facing western North Carolina: we are older, poorer, sicker and have less access to physicians and other needed care than other parts of the state and nation. That’s unacceptable, and we simply must change that for the benefit of our families, friends and our region. That’s exactly why we at Mission focus on our BIG(GER) Aim: to get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience for the patient and family.”

“Mission has undergone unprecedented, rigorous and nearly continuous State review for the past 16 years, making it the most regulated and transparent hospital in the State of North Carolina and likely in the nation,” said Rowena Buffett Timms, Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations for Mission Health. “This DHG five year assessment is the first of its kind anywhere, and demonstrates undeniable compliance, with only a few administrative/clerical exceptions in small aspects of documentation identified. This assessment reflects Mission’s unwavering commitment to high quality, low cost and fully transparent care for all of those in western North Carolina.”

Mission Health is the largest “safety net” hospital system in western North Carolina and one of the largest in the nation. Its payer mix – the percentage of patients who pay for health care versus those who receive charity care or who pay reduced rates -- is one of the most unfavorable in all of North Carolina, with approximately 75 percent of its patients receiving Medicaid, Medicare or charity care. Despite these facts, Mission Health was recently named by Thomson Reuters as one of the Top 15 Health Systems in the United States, and one of the top five in its size category nationally.

For Full Press Release with Appendix see here.