History of Dogwood Health Trust and the Mission Sale to Hospital Corporation of America

Beginning in 2018, the for-profit Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) approached the not-for profit Board of Mission Health with a request to purchase the system, including all 5 hospitals, clinics, and services. On January 14, 2019 the Attorney General’s office and the Mission Health System successor foundation, Dogwood Health Trust (DHT), signed a letter of agreement to transfer the $1.5 billion of the hospital system’s assets to DHT.  The DHT mission is “dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of western North Carolina. Dogwood’s focus is addressing social determinants of health.” DHT is one of over 300 hospital conversion foundations in the nation, four of which are located in North Carolina. The board is currently searching for a Chief Executive Officer and expects to begin grant making in 2020, eventually distributing over $50 million in grants each year for decades to come.


History of the Health Equity Coalition

The Health Equity Coalition (HEC) consists of organizations and citizens from the urban and rural communities of WNC who work to address the challenges and opportunities of both HCA and DHT. HEC was formed in the fall of 2018 with an initial focus to advocate for a stronger agreement between HCA and DHT through lobbying the North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. In January 2019, a more favorable agreement was signed with the key points that HEC advocated for including:

  • An independent monitor who would oversee the compliance of the agreement with aspects related to both HCA and DHT.

  • A commitment from HCA to maintain hospital services “as is”  with an increase from 5 years to 10 years

  • A commitment from DHT to include a more inclusive board by race, gender, and geography.

Currently, HEC is working to educate the region about new visions for collaborative philanthropy as a away to be a friendly influencer to DHT and all philanthropic foundations and nonprofits in WNC.


A unique rural and urban collaboration: Asheville and SEARCH work toward a common cause

The members of the Health Equity Coalition (HEC) form a unique collaboration of rural and urban mutual concerns. Long before HEC was formed, members of Sustaining Essential and Rural Community Healthcare (SEARCH) were responding to the closure of the obstetrics ward of the Blue Ridge Hospital in Spruce Pine, NC. Once SEARCH members?the learned the news of HCA and DHT, they reached out to other affected rural communities in Brevard, Cashiers, Franklin, and Marion to lobby the Attorney General’s office together.  Soon after, HEC was formed for the mutual benefit of urban and rural communities. Going forward HEC sees its role as being friendly influencers to staff and board of the Dogwood Health Trust as well as monitors to the independent monitor for compliance to the agreement with HCA and DHT.

Click here for an overview of modifications that the Attorney General required for the purchase to go through.