December 11, 2018

Carol Wolfenbarger: Mission Hospital McDowell: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

By Carol Wolfenbarger
President, Mission Hospital McDowell

One of the things I cherish about this season is being able to reflect on the accomplishments and events that unfolded during the year. In 2018, Mission Hospital McDowell (MHM) has gone through a real transformation to prepare ourselves for the future delivery of healthcare. We saw – and the community supported us through – the construction of a brand new hospital, a physical move of all of our technology, supplies, staff, and patients from our former facility, and a frequent reworking of our parking and entry protocols as we built a more conveniently situated parking area. Thank you for persevering with us to help us care more effectively for you!

I’m grateful to all those who worked to create the new MHM: the architects who dreamed what became possible, the Board and community members who helped keep us on track, the laborers who constructed and equipped the building, and our caregivers and team members who – no matter what was going on – ensured that the care we provided to our patients was safe and consistent. Our new facility clearly strengthens our ability to provide the very best care for many years to come.

We also changed our name from “McDowell Hospital” to “Mission Hospital McDowell,” a reflection of our strength as part of Mission Health – one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems, and a reminder that our patients have access to all of the expert care Mission Health offers, including specialists via our cutting-edge telemedicine platforms. In tandem with the hospital rebranding, we set out to link all of our practice names with “Mission.” The importance of these steps cannot be overstated, as we work to ensure that you, our community recognizes the available and accessible network of nationally-recognized care delivered right here in McDowell and Burke Counties!

As we look forward to 2019, there’s much positive to anticipate as well. The pending transaction between Mission Health and HCA Healthcare will strengthen the promise of excellent healthcare in western North Carolina for -generations to come. Proceeds from the transaction will fund Dogwood Health Trust, the successor of the not-for-profit Mission Health System. With a sole purpose to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of western North Carolina, Dogwood Health Trust will be nothing short of transformational. Additionally, a $15 million legacy foundation will be created to serve Mission Hospital McDowell’s service area with an emphasis on addressing those health challenges specific to our region. This transaction will strengthen our ability to continue collaborative, transformative work on our community’s health, and our sustainability in providing healthcare services well into the future will be fortified.

Despite all of these changes, we remain the very same team of dedicated caregivers committed to providing safe, compassionate care that is focused on you, our patients and families. Thank you for entrusting your care to Mission and may grace and renewal fulfill you this holiday season.

Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, is President of Mission Hospital McDowell. She holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in nursing administration from the University of Tennessee, is board certified in Healthcare Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Carol, who has served hospitals and health systems for more than three decades, has worked to add full-time cardiology services, led growth in outpatient services including imaging and surgery, and the expansion of primary care offering in Burke County since assuming her role as President at McDowell Hospital in 2015. She is an active member in Rotary and serves as a Board member for the Rutherford/Polk/McDowell Health District Board of Directors, the Corpening YMCA Board of Directors and the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

To learn more about Mission Hospital McDowell, visit