Mission Health System

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Mission Health
FoundedDating back to 1885

Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state's sixth-largest health system, serving much of western North Carolina with more than 12,000 employees and 2,000 volunteers. A sale to HCA Healthcare became final February 1, 2019, in which it was sold as a nonprofit to a for-profit company.[1] The proceeds went to a nonprofit foundation, the Dogwood Health Trust, which plans to distribute annual grants focused on healthcare.[2]

Mission Health in Asheville

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, home health provider CarePartners, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma, Women’s Health and Mission Children’s Hospital, the region’s only children’s hospital.

Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 795 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care.

Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard.


Pre 1947[edit]

The history of Mission Hospital can trace its roots back approximately 120 years when a group of women calling themselves "The Dogwood Mission" began offering healthcare services to some of the poorest citizens in Asheville North Carolina. Mission Hospital began in a rented 5 room house at the intersection of Charlotte and Woodfin Streets in Asheville North Carolina. Throughout the years, additional hospitals were established around the city. After World War II ended, Physicians and Nurses began coming to Asheville and were concerned by the numerous hospitals within the city. In 1947, it was decided that because of the lack of a major medical center, Mission Hospital would be the ideal choice to begin the formation of a modern medical center in Western North Carolina because of the acceptance of all people, rich or poor. Among the hospitals to merge with Mission was Clarence Barker Memorial Hospital (at that time known as Biltmore Hospital), which was established by the All Soul's Parish in 1896 and constructed on land donated by George Vanderbilt in 1900 on Reed Street.[citation needed]

St. Joseph's Hospital[edit]

St. Joseph's Hospital, circa 1920

St. Joseph's Hospital was established in 1900 originally as a sanitarium for the treatment of Tuberculosis[3] by the Sisters of Mercy, in a house on French Broad Avenue. After moving to Starnes Street, the sisters purchased the current site on Biltmore Avenue in 1909 that was the original residence of William Wallace McDowell, a prominent Confederate major who established a militia of volunteers from Western North Carolina during the Civil War, which was built in 1880. Over the years, the hospital expanded and additional services were offered. In 1938, the hospital was declared a general hospital. After numerous expansions, the original building was replaced with a more modern facility in 1974.

Memorial Mission Hospital[edit]

Memorial Mission Hospital, Circa 1950

After the consolidation of the smaller hospitals and the merger of Mission and Memorial Hospitals, Memorial Mission Hospital began operations with the hospitals on Reed Street and Woodfin Street in Asheville North Carolina. In 1951, Biltmore Hospital closed and construction began on a new hospital on Biltmore Avenue, across the street from St. Joseph's and was dedicated in March 1954. As technology advanced and medical procedures were becoming very complicated and expensive, Memorial Mission began looking towards St. Joseph's in the hopes of combining operations.[citation needed]

Becoming Mission Heath[edit]

In 1998, Memorial Mission purchased St. Joseph's from the Sisters of Mercy[3] This merger also led to the purchases of McDowell Hospital in Marion and Blue Ridge Community Hospital in Spruce Pine. Mission Health was the state's sixth-largest health system and the western North Carolina’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina.

Purchase by HCA[edit]

The $1.5 billion sale of Mission Health to the for-profit HCA Healthcare, announced in March 2018, was completed February 1, 2019.[4][5] Today, Mission Hospital provides healthcare to the people of Asheville, Buncombe County, and much of Western North Carolina with over 50 specialties and a cardiovascular program that ranks among one of the 100 best hospitals in the United States.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Gaynor, Martin; Economist, Health Care; University, Carnegie Mellon. "Can A Community Hospital Stick To Its Mission When It Goes For-Profit?". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  2. ^ Stone, Jessi. "Hospital foundations find new mission". www.smokymountainnews.com. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  3. ^ a b Boyle, John (January 30, 2019). "Answer Man: In Mission-HCA deal what becomes of St. Joseph's?". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  4. ^ Davis, Dillon (January 29, 2019). "HCA Healthcare CEO: Mission acquisition will add to company's 'already strong portfolio'". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Davis, Dillon (February 1, 2019). "Today's the day: Asheville's Mission Health, HCA Healthcare finalize $1.5B deal". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved February 1, 2019.

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