Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The new Dogwood Health Trust foundation coming together in Western North Carolina is currently accepting applications for board members.

Dogwood Health Trust is the entity that would be born out of the sale of the nonprofit Mission Health to the for-profit company HCA Healthcare. The sale is pending. If all goes according to plan, it will be finalized later this fall.

Below is info culled from a recent Facebook Live broadcast featuring the following: Jill Hoggard Green, RN, Mission’s chief operating officer;  William R. Hathaway, MD, Mission’s chief medical officer; Karen Olsen, Mission’s chief nurse executive; John R. Ball, MD, chairman of the Mission Health System Board of Directors; and Janice Brumit, the inaugural chair of the new  Dogwood Health Trust Board of Directors.

This group, along with other Mission officials, recently visited St. David’s Medical Center, a hospital system in Austin, Texas, that joined HCA in the 1990s. The visit was part of Mission’s due diligence and a chance to see, up close and personal, how HCA delivers clinical care. Other Mission folks on the trip: Dr. Susan Mims, Mission’s VP for Children’s Services; Dr. Alexander Schneider, Mission’s chief of staff; Dr. Don Gajewski, director of Mission Cancer Care; and Dr. Chris DeRienzo, Mission’s chief quality officer.

Here we go:

The sale: The proceeds of that sale, expected to be between $1 billion and $2 billion, would go to the foundation and create a revenue stream of between $50 million to $100 million a year. That money, directed by the Dogwood Health Trust’s board, would be spent on health care initiatives in 18 counties across Western North Carolina. The foundation is expected to be one of the three biggest in North Carolina, behind the Foundation For The Carolinas and the Golden LEAF Foundation.

Where we are with the sale right now: Mission Health and HCA are finishing their due diligence and will draw up a contract with all the nitty-gritty details. That contract goes to the North Carolina Attorney General, who must give his approval. That’s a roughly 90-day period, which brings us to year-end finalization of the sale.

The Dogwood Health Trust board: Will consist of 15 members representing a diverse range of skills and backgrounds from across Western North Carolina. Applications are now open. Apply here. Nominees should be “selfless visionaries who put the community first,” one of the Mission execs said.

Foundation’s first chair: Janice Brumit, a long-time civic leader in Asheville, has been named the inaugural chair of the Dogwood Health Trust. She’s currently a member of Mission Health’s board.

Buzzword phrase – social determinants of health: We’ll be hearing a lot about the “social determinants of health,” which is what all the work of the Dogwood Health Trust will be organized around. So what does that mean? We’re talking here about things like transportation, housing, food security, domestic violence, mental health and more. Key quote: “Your zip code says as much about your health as anything.” Look for the foundation to hire a consultant, which will help with an initial needs assessment. Then look for the foundation to create a long-range strategic plan.

Partners: Mission officials say they’ll be leaning heavily on local nonprofits and local county boards of health as they begin assessing needs and then allocating cash.

Where will money be allocated? One key area that’s already been identified is “capacity and resource building.” That is, officials want to train people and put financial resources into programs that can grow and keep the work they’re doing going. That will likely translate into financial support for nonprofits “to communicate, to administer grants, to manage, to get out into the field,” one official said.

Foundation’s first grant: Is expected to be made in 2020.

Don’t be afraid to fail: Mission officials say that, while they’ll be funding plenty of tried-and-true programs (a “tooth bus” that delivers mobile dental care to rural areas was held out as one example), they’ve also been encouraged to financially support new initiatives. Got a great idea for improving health care in our area? Now’s the time to get it on paper, organized, moving.

More about Dogwood Health Trust: Will be announced Sept. 30.

Forum discussion: UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center will host a forum discussion beginning at 10 a.m. Friday to talk about what a “conversion health foundation” can do to advance public health across WNC. Speakers include Karl Stauber, CEO of Danville Regional Foundation, a hospital conversion foundation in Danville, Va.; N.C. Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Harrod. (The leader of an Asheville nonprofit focused on poverty, as well as someone from Sustaining Essential and Rural Community Healthcare, will also present, according to one announcement.) Eventbrite info here.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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