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President and CEO Ronald A. Paulus, MD, Leads Mission Health Through Challenging Payor Mix and COPA Constraints to Build a Next Generation Health System

Mission Health Nationally Recognized; Patients Receive Lower Cost for Care, Site Improved Experience

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients at Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health's flagship hospital, Mission Hospital, are dramatically less likely to die and significantly more satisfied with the quality of care they receive today than they were just three years ago (more than 35 percent improvement in each metric, which started above national benchmarks), according to independent research. This vast improvement in patient satisfaction coincides with the work performed over the past three years by a revitalized Mission Health leadership team working together under the direction of Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and CEO.

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"At Mission Health, we strive continuously to provide high quality care close to home for all of the people we serve across western North Carolina, and we do so without regard for a patient's ability to pay," said William Maples, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Mission Health. "Under Dr. Paulus's leadership, we consistently focus on improving clinical outcomes, care efficiency and patient experience in every aspect of care. Mission is relentlessly committed to exceptional care and that commitment is paying off for our patients, our community and for Mission Health. As just one example, our mortality rate has declined by more than 35 percent in the past three years even though we began as better than average. That improvement – now among the elite in the nation – translates into more than 500 people per year who go home with their families than would have occurred previously."

Mission Health is the largest "safety net" hospital system in western North Carolina and one of the largest in the nation. Its payor mix – the percentage of patients who pay for healthcare 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 being covered by Medicaid or Medicare or who are recipients of charity care from Mission Health.

Operating under a Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA), Mission Hospital is also one of the most regulated and transparent hospitals in North Carolina and the United States. Beyond the dramatic improvements in patient safety and quality, a recent assessment of Mission Health's compliance with the COPA for FY2012 found Mission Health's cost per case to be more than $1,000 less than comparable hospitals of similar size and services in North Carolina and South Carolina. A previous five-year assessment found Mission Health's restrained pricing resulted in $62.3 million less in earnings than the COPA allowed from 2007-2011.

"Mission Health's value has been well known for a long time, and these reports simply underscore what we and objective observers have known: Mission Health provides an incredible value for the communities it serves," said Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN, Chief Operating Officer for Mission Health. "Along with our terrific medical staff and caregivers, we are incredibly privileged to serve this wonderful region. Dr. Paulus is an innovative and tireless leader who has urged us to create a regional network of care that might serve as a national model for what can be done under the most challenging demographic circumstances."

"There is no question that the last three years have been incredibly difficult for the healthcare arena, and North Carolina is no exception," said Dr. Paulus. "However, as caregivers, our entire Mission Health family knows that patients and their health are the reason we come to work every day. After joining Mission Health in 2010, I introduced a simple, tangible and accessible vision that we call 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. That patient-centered promise drives everything that we do, and it has directly contributed to our success. With the unwavering support of our community-led Board of Directors, we are in the process of redesigning everything that we do: developing new models of care, creating new clinical and business processes and finding new ways to deploy technology while ensuring that we hold firm and dear the human experience in care. The overarching project, Mission re:DESIGN, is a $350 million, multi-year project that involves hundreds of caregivers, patients and health system leaders. Our region is counting on us to succeed, and succeed we will."

About Ronald A. Paulus, MD

Dr. Paulus received his medical degree from The School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his medical degree, he also holds a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in healthcare management and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and speaks regularly on the topics of healthcare quality and efficiency, innovation, physician leadership and new models of care.

Prior to joining Mission Health in 2010, Dr. Paulus served as Executive Vice President of Clinical Operations at Geisinger Health System. There, he was responsible for the operations of its $1.3 billion clinical enterprise (including three hospitals, a 750+ multispecialty group practice and more than 40 ambulatory care facilities). While at Geisinger, Dr. Paulus also served as Chief Innovation Officer, responsible for ensuring system-wide innovation.

Prior to joining Geisinger, Dr. Paulus was Co-founder, President and CEO of CareScience, Inc., now part of Premier healthcare informatics, a clinical solutions and data analytics provider that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare. Before that, he served as Vice President of Operations at Salick Health Care, Inc., a national provider of oncology and dialysis services acquired by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state's sixth-largest health system and the region's only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. In 2012 Mission Health was named one of the nation's Top 15 Health Systems by Thomson Reuters – the only health system in North Carolina to receive this recognition.

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates five hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, and the region's only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in over 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children's Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women's Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system's flagship hospital and is licensed for 730 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care. It also includes Mission Children's Hospital– the region's only children's hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 8,800 employees and 700 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit mission-health.org.

SOURCE Mission Health

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