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Mission taps Crane, a pioneer in reform, to direct primary care

Dr. Steven D. Crane, a Hendersonville family practitioner and nationally recognized pioneer in lower-cost patient-centered care, has been named medical director of primary care at Mission Health.

Crane will remain active at MAHEC (Mountain Area Health Education Center) as assistant division director of family medicine and coordinator of the residency program at Pardee and will continue to see patients at the Pardee Flat Rock Family Health Center, the clinic that has drawn attention nationally for its efficiency and low cost.
Crane will direct the Mission Medical Associates Primary Care clinical staff and oversee MMA's primary care clinical programs. He will lead efforts to re-engineer patient care within Mission's primary care practices to improve population health and achieve the system's BIG(GER) AIM: getting each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience, Mission said in a news release.
On a broader scale, Dr. Crane will lead the development of strategies and initiatives to support future growth of a regional network of primary care. Additionally, he will serve as clinical liaison to potential regional partners to enhance, improve and grow primary care access in western North Carolina.
"Steve comes to Mission Health with an extensive background in medical practice leadership," Marc Westle, senior vice president of Innovation at Mission Health, said in the news release. "Not only has Steve demonstrated leadership and innovation in the clinical setting, he is also a highly regarded educator, particularly with respect to clinical care and rural population health. He is an asset to the Mission Health team and the western North Carolina medical community."
The Flat Rock clinic, which leases space during daytime hours from the Hendersonville Free Clinic, uses a kiosk check-in that saves overhead costs. The practice also encourages patients to make their own appointments on line. Patients can ask questions by emailing the doctors. The so-called E-visits put patients in charge of their own care and are designed to increase patient satisfaction.
The UNC Medical School, where Crane is a professor, has followed the Flat Rock practice closely and tracked the results. The clinic has also been the subject of national studies and articles focusing on health care reform and innovative family practice approaches.
Crane serves as a clinical professor for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina and has served as assistant division director at MAHEC. Prior to these roles, Dr. Crane served as the Program Director of the MAHEC Hendersonville Family Medicine Residency Program for six years. As Program Director, he developed curriculums and training methods that prepared physicians to practice medicine in small rural areas. Dr. Crane's credentials include an impressive list of presentations, papers, peer-reviewed articles and primary-authored texts.

Crane earned his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and completed his residency at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. He is board-certified in the area of Family Medicine. A member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and Board Chair at Community Care of Western North Carolina, Crane has received several major grants to improve patient safety and primary care in rural areas. His service has been honored on numerous occasions, including by the North Carolina Public Health Association and the governor of North Carolina.