September 12, 2017

Michele Pilon: “Membership In Mission Health Is Beneficial”

By Michele Pilon
President/CNO, Transylvania Regional Hospital

One of my top priorities is listening to any community concerns in my role as hospital president and chief nursing officer of Transylvania Regional Hospital. I’ve enjoyed meeting with so many of you via public forums, including the Pisgah Forest and Brevard Rotary Clubs, city council and county commissioner meetings, and a Chamber of Commerce Coffee Connection. These interactions have allowed me to hear the diverse thoughts and insights of our many patients, friends and families. These dialogues supplement other feedback on our hospital’s performance collected through patient surveys, letters and phone calls.

First, I’d like to talk about a misperception that some have expressed to me: a worry that since Mission Health is “acquiring so much hospital and private practice real estate in Western North Carolina, this somehow threatens their health care.”

That’s not true and, in fact, it’s just the opposite. Being part of Mission Health not only strengthens us, it brings unique benefits. Chief among those benefits is Mission’s unwavering commitment to quality, exemplified in Mission Health’s designation as one of the nation’s top 15 health systems for the fifth time in the past six years by Truven Health Analytics/IBM Watson – something never achieved by any other health system in the nation, and never achieved even one year by any other North Carolina health system.

Transylvania Regional became a member hospital four years ago. Since then, Mission Health has not only brought clinical and management best practices that have helped Transylvania Regional Hospital transform our care, but Mission and our generous community donors have invested in major hospital improvements that benefit patient care.

Given our current reimbursement realities and political landscape, hospitals – especially rural hospitals – face fiscal challenges that threaten their ability to provide services and ultimately, survive. More than one rural hospital per month is closing across our nation. But with a strong regional health system to support us, we don’t have to worry about closure due to these challenges, a fate many rural hospitals across the country have suffered.

Additionally, Transylvania Regional’s patients can access not only our excellent local practices, but also

Mission Hospital’s specialists. Further, when recruiting for new clinicians, they understand that it is not realistic for a small rural hospital to succeed on its own. But as a Mission Health hospital, we’re better able to attract the best and brightest clinicians, something essential for our long run success. Mission Health also makes capital investments in its hospitals, and that support – in addition to our generous community’s backing – made our impressive new Emergency Department a reality.

Another question that comes under the same umbrella as our Mission Health membership is the role of our foundation; I’m often asked to discuss its work and its role in TRH’s future growth. I’m continually 2 amazed at the level of caring and giving in this community. Currently, the foundation is raising funds for two important state-of-the-art projects: a surgical services department and a Cancer Center. Our foundation also supports other initiatives, such as nursing education and equipment purchases that allow our caregivers to deliver quality, efficient care.

I’m considering diverse topics for future columns that I hope will resonate with the community, including the vast transformation occurring throughout the health care industry and how it affects our hospital, a breakdown of our valuable services, and even a chance for readers to send me questions that I could respond to. Everyone at Transylvania Regional Hospital is dedicated to the care of this community, and through this column I hope to create an ongoing dialogue with the community.

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