Mission Health plans to contribute $90M to foundations if it sells to HCA Healthcare

Mission Health plans to contribute a total of $90 million to six foundations tied to its hospitals should it be purchased by HCA Healthcare. 

The health system announced it will donate the funds to five foundations currently in operation—Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Foundation, CarePartners Foundation, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation, Mission Hospital McDowell Foundation and Transylvania Regional Hospital Foundation—and will create the sixth at its Angel Medical Center for the project. 

The money will be donated over the course of three years in $5 million installments to each foundation, with each receiving $15 million total in funds that come from the proceeds of the sale.

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Mission said in the announcement that its six foundations will remain independent from HCA should the deal go through. The funding will be used to improve health in the communities they serve, including a focus on the social determinants of health. 

The foundations will receive the first payment and then will be evaluated on their work to secure the second and third donations, according to the announcement. The six organizations will work with the Dogwood Health Trust, which is the “successor foundation to the whole health system, on its programs. 

Mission Health revealed in March that it had signed a letter of intent to join HCA, one of the country’s largest for-profit healthcare organizations. But the deal has been a source of controversy as skeptics wonder if Mission can stick to its nonprofit roots—for example, continuing to provide substantial charity care—if it becomes a part of a for-profit system. 

Six-hospital Mission Health provided $100 million in charity care to the Asheville, North Carolina region last year. 

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John Ball, M.D., chairman of Mission’s board, said that the system’s leadership weighed a number of different strategies to provide additional community support while working through the plan for the sale. Joining HCA will also prevent facility closure or loss of services, he said in a statement.

“In addition to significant protections against program or facility closures for our rural communities, we are pleased to provide each member entity with proceeds from the sale of Mission Health to benefit their communities directly and locally,” Ball said. 

Whether a hospital or health system is for-profit or nonprofit is becoming a less important factor in deal-making, as providers continue to hunger for M&A, Anu Singh, Kaufman Hall managing director, told FierceHealthcare in April

Instead, health systems are focusing more on finding partners that offer strategic benefits or align well, he said. 

“We do expect options for smaller health systems to increasingly consider models like the one Mission pursued,” Singh said.