Like McDonald's versus Burger King or Wal-Mart against Target, U.S. hospitals spent $17 billion on new buildings the past two years to get your business. ...
Asheville — In this city of more than 83,300 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a proposal by Mission Health System to construct a medical facility near two existing hospitals erupted into a statewide controversy this fall after its spokeswoman boldly described her firm's market dominance.
"There was a lot of talk about the fact that we are a monopoly, and we are," Janet Moore, Mission's then-communications director told a national meeting of marketing professionals. "We're kind of the 500-pound gorilla in North Carolina."
Moore's bosses fumed, calling her comments ill-advised. They were also ill-timed: Mission, a six-hospital chain that controls 90 percent of the market in Buncombe County, wants to expand into neighboring Henderson County.
Moore's resignation in October left behind a simmering health care battle and a trail of critics who pointed to her remarks as open admission of the health system's real intent. ...
Mission CEO Dr. Ron Paulus said he finds it offensive that anyone would describe Mission as a predatory organization. Although Mission has acquired several physician practices in the past several years, Paulus said, some practices would have gone belly-up without Mission. About 72 percent of Mission's patients are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, which pay hospitals much less than commercial insurers.
"We can and should be criticized if we're wasteful or if we profligate, but the only reason why we're here is to try to care for the community the way we've done for the last century plus," Paulus said. "It's a reality that the total dollars are getting smaller, so we have to re-engineer ourselves. We have to lower our average cost of care. We have to find lower cost delivery settings ... because nobody is going to pay us anymore." ...
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