North Carolina's Attorney General announced Thursday he has agreed to an independent monitor who will oversee HCA Healthcare's compliance with the terms of the agreement it signed in order to purchase Mission Health.
The new monitor, healthcare consulting firm Gibbins Advisors, was picked by the board of ANC Healthcare, formerly Mission, and Dogwood Health Trust, the new not-for-profit organization formed using net proceeds from the $1.5 billion deal. The selection comes nearly nine months after Asheville-based Mission's sale to HCA closed on Feb. 1.
Attorney General Josh Stein and HCA executives also participated in the interview process. In a news release, Stein wrote that he took the choice seriously and looks forward to hearing about town hall meetings and other opportunities for Gibbins to hear directly from stakeholders.
"That commitment to engaging with local communities, along with the monitor's qualifications, led me to direct my office to consent to the selection of this monitor," he said.
White Plains, New York-based Gibbins has "substantial experience" in hospital administration, Dogwood wrote in a news release. The release did not specify when Gibbins will begin the work.
Janice Brumit, chair of Dogwood's Board of Directors, said in a statement she's pleased with the selection.
"Gibbins is a highly qualified firm that we believe will take a proactive approach to evaluating community needs," she said.Gibbins will be responsible for reviewing Nashville-based HCA's annual reports, inspecting hospital facilities and evaluating HCA's compliance with its obligations under its Mission purchase agreement. It will regularly apprise Dogwood and five regional advisory boards on HCA's compliance, and will share responsibility with regional advisory boards on approving or denying changes to HCA's commitments to local hospitals, the news release said.
Dogwood will oversee Gibbins' performance. The organization's mission is to make significant investments in partnerships that will study and address core social determinants of health in Western North Carolina. The trust expects to begin grant funding for approved initiatives as early as 2020.
HCA, a for-profit hospital chain, has also agreed to keep Mission's six hospitals open for 10 years and to build a 120-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital in Asheville. It has promised to build a replacement hospital for Angel Medical Center in Franklin, N.C. and complete the new Mission Hospital for Advanced Medicine in Asheville. The company has also committed to spending $232 million in capital investments on Mission facilities, not including the behavioral health hospital or the replacement hospital in Franklin.
The announcement of Gibbins' selection comes just days after the publication of a North Carolina Health News article in which locals wondered why an independent monitor hadn't yet been announced. A spokeswoman for Stein's office acknowledged in a June email having received Dogwood and ANC Healthcare's recommendation for a monitor, and said the office was evaluating the selection.
HCA reported strong volume growth in the third quarter, which it released on Tuesday. The company's admissions grew nearly 6% over the prior-year period.