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Pardee, Mission set to open Fletcher campus

Pardee Mission Health Campus, shown in a July 25 photo, will open Oct. 1. Pardee Mission Health Campus, shown in a July 25 photo, will open Oct. 1.

Riding the momentum of a strong financial year, an extended agreement with UNC Health Care and a top ranking in surgeries, Pardee Hospital is set to launch new services at the Mission Pardee Health Campus in three weeks.

The county-owned hospital and partner Mission Health plan to open the urgent care center and an outpatient diagnostic center on Oct. 1. A ribbon cutting and tours of the medical facility are scheduled for Sept. 25.
Pardee's finance committee chairman and the hospital's chief financial officer reported at a Pardee board meeting last week that the hospital's margin so far this year was at 2.3 percent, thanks to an 8 percent increase in patient admissions and strong gains at its urgent care clinic. Pardee ended the 2011-12 fiscal year with a margin of just .6 percent. This year it has consistently run ahead of budget and reported income well ahead of 2011-12.
On Aug. 28 Pardee's governing board adopted a 2013-14 fiscal year budget that projects a margin of 2.6 percent.
"We have been successful this year with 8 percent growth" in admissions, Chief Financial Officer Alan House told the board. "We have some momentum certainly. We don't expect another year of 8 percent growth but we do expect 3 percent."
The Pardee board and Henderson County commissioners last week also approved a 25-year agreement with UNC that hospital board members and commissioners said would bolster Pardee's ability to grow in the future.
"I think we've done the very best thing we can do to take care of our hospital here in Henderson County," Commissioner Tommy Thompson said. "There's big changes to come. We talk about micromanaging. We can't do that, but the hospital is in the business of dealing with that every day and I think we've got the right people on board to do that and I'm very proud of what we've accomplished today."

The commissioners unanimously approved a series of legal agreements that:

  • Refinanced a $9.5 million revenue bond loan, saving Pardee $626,000 over 10 years.
  • Restructured the Pardee Board giving the Pardee Board of Directors and UNC Health Care more appointments while preserving the commissioners' final approval of their nominations.
  • Gave Pardee and UNC Health Care greater flexibility to form partnerships with other health care providers.
  • Directed Pardee, Henderson County and the county schools to explore within six months the possibility of forming a Pardee-based health maintenance organization for employees. Henderson County has 750 employees and the school system employs about 1,700 people.
  • The new agreement with UNC Health Care is important because the longer term increases stability, said Pardee's chief strategist, Kris Peters.

"Health care is dynamic and ever changing and if we're going to deal with, not just government changes, but emerging new technologies and innovation being part of a strong stable system like UNC definitely helps Pardee. Nationwide, the majority of hospitals are no longer independent. They're part of a multi-hospital system. With UNC Health Care and their reputation and strength, it's not just a just a partner but a strong partner for us."
Since 2011 UNC has managed Pardee for a fee of $180,000 a year; CEO Jay Kirby is an employee of UNC Health Care, reporting to both UNC and the Pardee board. The fee is now equal to 2.5 percent Pardee's gross operating margin. The enhanced agreement gives UNC and Pardee more flexibility to enter into partnerships with other providers.
Peters said Pardee contributes to the UNC network as well.
"I think it gives them a presence in the western part of the state and I think it helps them to put a strong hospital like Pardee into their system," she said. Having Pardee "helps UNC disperse its brand broadly across the state."
As for the Mission Pardee campus, Pardee plans to open the first floor clinics on Oct. 1.
In January of 2014, Pardee will open second floor physician practices.
Pardee and Mission are also opening a YMCA branch at the health campus in cooperation of the YMCA of WNC. The 40,000-square-foot facility includes the YMCA on the first floor and cardiac care and other offices on the second floor.
The positive budget numbers for 2013, new health campus and new UNC agreement come as Pardee has broken out a new advertising campaign. The campaign publicizes an August Consumer Reports rating that placed Pardee No. 1 among hospitals in North Carolina in surgical care.