Press release from Mission Health, shared Sept. 20:

ASHEVILLE –  After an extensive search to identify the best possible long-term partner for its health system and community, Rutherford Regional Health System, located in Rutherfordton, N.C., has decided to move forward to negotiate a formal affiliation agreement with Mission Health.

Based upon a unanimous decision by the Rutherford Regional Health System Board of Trustees, the health system and Mission Health will now begin negotiating a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will detail the terms of the affiliation.

“We are honored that the leadership of Rutherford Regional Health System has selected Mission Health for a potential partnership,” said Ronald A. Paulus, president and CEO of Mission Health. “In all of our discussions with Rutherford, we focused extensively on our unwavering commitment to quality, with a patient-centered focus in everything that we do. We look forward to working with Rutherford Regional Health System on a successful negotiation and are confident that by combining the resources, talent and experience of both organizations, we can ensure that care remains available close to home. Together, we are a step closer to achieving Mission Health’s ‘BIG(GER) Aim:’ getting each and every patient to the desired outcome, without harm, without waste and with an exceptional experience.”

Once an MOU has been finalized and approved by both boards, a joint announcement will be made detailing the terms of the affiliation.

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 and is the busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina. 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.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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