Press release from Mission Health, shared Dec. 3:

ASHEVILLE – The Rathbun Center, a hospitality house for the families of patients receiving medical care in Asheville, will join Mission Health in early January 2013. Designed to ensure the sustainability of The Rathbun Center, the agreement calls for Mission to assume responsibility for The Rathbun Center. The announcement was made jointly by Adelaide Key, founder of The Rathbun Center and Ronald A. Paulus, president and CEO of Mission Health.

“The Rathbun Center has been a driving force in my life for over twenty years,” said Key. “I am very proud of its operation – and I know that The Rathbun Center will be in good hands with Mission Health.”

As part of the agreement, Mission Health will employ The Rathbun Center staff and merge its volunteers into the Mission Volunteer program. The physical facilities will be contributed to the Mission Foundation.

“As the only locally owned and governed health system in our region, Mission Health exists solely to serve the residents of western North Carolina,” said Paulus. “The Rathbun Center is the embodiment of that purpose, and we are happy that Mission Health will play a role in the continuation of such a wonderful facility.”

Since its opening in 1994, The Rathbun Center has been offering overnight and short-term accommodations to people from throughout Western North Carolina who have loved ones receiving care in Asheville-based medical facilities, including CarePartners, the Charles George VA Medical Center and Mission Hospital.  Those services will continue under this agreement.

“Having known Adelaide since the inception of The Rathbun Center, I know how passionate she is about keeping Rathbun a strong first class facility for everyone in western North Carolina,” said Bruce Thorsen, president and CEO of the Mission Foundation. “Adelaide’s legacy is a precious one to this region and we are honored that Mission can play a role in sustaining her vision.”

Mission will continue The Rathbun Center policy of not charging for the accommodations, but relying on donations to help defray the costs of operating the 36-room facility that is much like a big comfortable home versus a hotel. Mission Foundation will assume the fundraising responsibilities for the center and is establishing The Rathbun House Fund so donors can be assured their contributions will go directly to support the center.
About The Rathbun Center

The Rathbun Center is a non-profit corporation that provides lodging and other supportive services in a home-like environment, free of charge, for patients and their caregivers coming into Asheville for medical treatment. Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, The Rathbun Center awaits as a house of comfort, hope, support and love. For more information, please visit

About Mission Foundation

The Mission Foundation is a 28-year-old 501(c)(3) public charity governed by a 29-member board of Trustees. It is the only locally-based charity to have earned national accreditation by the Better Business Bureau-CharityWise Alliance, one of only 280 such charities in the United States to have this accreditation.

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, 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. For more information, please visit

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may republish our stories for free, online or in print. Simply copy and paste the article contents from the box below. Note, some images and interactive features may not be included here.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *