Six community meetings intended to allow Western North Carolinians to provide feedback on HCA Healthcare-owned Mission Hospital will have public comment segments following an Asheville Watchdog report that questioned whether an open forum would be available.

Gibbins Advisors, the Nashville-based firm hired by Dogwood Health Trust to monitor Mission Health’s compliance with a 10-year, 15-commitment purchase agreement after its $1.5 billion sale to HCA in 2019, said Tuesday morning that the meetings in six counties to be held today through early next year will include an opportunity for attendees to address the entire room.

“We will provide time for public comment and Q&A during the Independent Monitor’s community meetings,” Gibbins co-founder and managing director Ronald Winters said Tuesday afternoon. “The public comment and Q&A will be for the entire room to hear. We have always been intent on listening carefully to the public but it has become even more clear the community places importance on being able to express concerns in an open forum with their neighbors. We want to be respectful and responsive to that.”

Today’s meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Brevard’s Thomas Concert Hall. The second will be held at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Asheville’s Scenic Hotel. Others are planned for Macon, Jackson, McDowell, and Mitchell counties.

Winters previously would not answer The Watchdog’s direct questions on whether the meetings would include a time for attendees to address the room in an open forum, as is standard in public comment periods and was the case when Gibbins held its first public meetings in early 2020.

Sen. Julie Mayfield, D-Buncombe, told The Watchdog that Winters had told her that the meeting format would include a PowerPoint presentation and would not provide a time for open public comment, and that she had urged Winters to reconsider. She said Winters told her Tuesday there would be public comment.

Mark Weinstein, a Transylvania County resident who helped organize independent meetings and a report on quality of care at the Mission Health hospital in Brevard, expressed frustration.

“The fact that this was even a question is indicative of the frustration many are feeling in the community,” Weinstein said, “Nobody seems to really be listening. And nobody seems to be able to do anything.”

Winters also said Tuesday that in the future Gibbins will hold public meetings earlier in the year.

A slide from Gibbins Advisors’ Sug. 31 presentation to Dogwood Health Trust and the attorney general’s office explains its compliance review process. // Credit: Gibbins Advisors

A presentation Gibbins gave to Dogwood Health Trust and the attorney general’s office Aug. 31 indicated that part of the firm’s annual review of HCA’s compliance with the purchase agreement included public meetings within 75 days after the end of April.

Public meetings were not held in that timeframe.

“We updated our illustration … of the Independent Monitor’s Annual Compliance Evaluation process in August 2023 to reflect the new process of incorporating public meetings into our 75-day annual compliance review period,” Winters said via email.  “That illustration is accurate as to our process as of the time of publishing and for future periods, but it does not relate to our process during this year’s compliance evaluation process … for the 2022 reporting period. We apologize for any confusion caused.”

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. Andrew R. Jones is a Watchdog investigative reporter. Email To show your support for this vital public service go to

18 replies on “Following Watchdog report, Mission sale monitor says meetings to offer public comment”

  1. Thank goodness for an organization that alerts and informs is. So many aspects about this sale of mission, the dogwood trust and HCA were never disclosed. Keep up the good work

  2. Thank you Asheville Watchdog for exposing all the crooked underbellies. There are a lot here to expose.

  3. Thank you Asheville Watchdog – you look out for community better than some of those in leadership! You are appreciated!

  4. No doubt your coverage helped influence this – well done!
    Here’s hoping the community can get a dialog started and we can get some meaningful metrics by which to evaluate HCA’s performance.

  5. Your coverage again demonstrates the value of local journalists. I hope AG (and gubernatorial candidate) Stein is aware of and plans to attend or atleast send a representative to these meetings. His seems to be the only governmental office with any interest and/or power to do anything to oversee and enforce the purchase agreement.

  6. Interesting that I believe that the sale of Mission was approved by, maybe the board at the time (comprised of local people?). I don’t recall seeing much of anything about who they were and their rationale for the sale. I doubt that we would be hearing all the controversy about Mission and HCA if the sale were never made! Why was it done?

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Tom. We need to have questions answered going back to naming every member of the board which approved this, who thought (from what I’ve seen) toothless and vague not at all quality of care focused agreement at all protected WNC residents from a known to be predatory, convicted of massive fraud for-profit hospital, and engineered a behind closed doors no competitive bid pre-engineered sale of Mission to HCA all the while Paulus had a sweetheart consulting deal with HCA which started immediately after the sale. The alarming lack of proper stewardship over the sale of the region’s only trauma hospital, the only hospital with high level cardiac care capacity, etc. should be criminal imho. So much for the public trust in a supposedly professional community board which allowed this to happen. We’ve got a lot to talk about. They’ve got a lot to answer for. I’d like an organization chart which shows the overlap in the Mission Board which did this to us and those who started Dogwood Trust. The whole thing stinks, and our community access to reasonable and safe healthcare is at stake. Our doctors and nurses and others who haven’t left HCA already are to be thanked, but, they deserve safe and appropriate support from HCA to do their difficult and important jobs.

      1. Kathy, thanks for your comments; I wondered many times if I am the only one thinking about those past decisions or am I missing something?

  7. I just watched an old Gibbins Advisors HCA meeting from Franklin in Macon County from January 2020. It was bad then, it is worse now. You can find it on youtube. These sham meetings do nothing to improve patient care and outcomes at HCA. The Dogwood hired independent advisors, from Nashville, coincidentally the Homebase of HCA, are paid a big bag of money to listen to pretend to listen to people complain when they really have no intention or ability to do anything to resolve the problems. They will merely pass the complaints back to HCA where they will go nowhere. We are all just sitting ducks when it comes to healthcare in HCA dominated WNC.

  8. WLOS reporting:
    “The independent monitor needs to hear from this community because we never know what the monitor is looking at and whether something someone says in one of these meetings triggers something for them to look at,” state Sen. Julie Mayfield, of Asheville, said.
    Huh??? We know what they are looking at, not much. The “15” areas in the purchase agreement, which we now know have nothing to do with quality of care or patient safety, which is mainly what all of us are concerned about.

  9. independent monitoring, is this a thing ? or was this set up custom for this deal because there doesn’t seem to be other independent monitoring gigs going on with other hospitals. What’s up with that? Why does this whole deal and aftermath carry with it such a cloak and dagger vibe?

  10. I do hope that they take the time to hear what many past patients have endured at the HCA Mission hospital. From what I have heard from 7 personal friends HCA has allowed patient care to be almost life threatening including no food or water for two days, extremely dirty rooms and bathrooms (like blood and urine on the floor from previous patients), wrong medications, staffing so short that a patient was unable to find a nurse to handle an emergency, fear of being in the hospital without a patient advocate with them for the entire 24 hours, and other lesser care needs in short or nonexistent supply. This doesn’t even cover the horrific episodes that have occurred in ER which appears to be no better than eighteenth century medicine.
    Josh Stein has let us down as has the monitoring company and not to say anything about the Dogwood Trust.

  11. For those who are curious what happened at the Brevard Sham Meeting: This about sums it up, courtesy of the Transylvania Times:
    After the presentation, Mark Weinstein, spokesperson for the Community Engagement Council for TRH said, “The Independent Monitor had no answers whatsoever to the concerns of our community which involve questions of quality and availability of medical care and services at TRH under HCA.”

    “Their job is to enforce the asset purchase agreement which was carefully constructed to have no measurements and no enforceability,” he said. “It’s like they have an empty box and cannot monitor anything outside the box. The situation is tragic.”

  12. I forgot the most infuriating part:
    On Wednesday hospital spokesperson Nancy Lindell said she was pleased the Independent Monitor acknowledged Mission Health’s continued work to honor the purchase agreement’s commitments.

    We have all been duped, by all involved. It seems the deal was all about assets, not actual care. It reads like a real estate contract if anyone cares to actually read it. Stein cannot enforce anything because there is nothing to enforce. In a nutshell, as long as they keep Mission open until 2029 and provide services at their discretion, they are in compliance.

  13. looks to me like AG Stein tried to deflect the heat onto Gibbins and they called his bluff. Gibbins is doing exactly what they were paid to do, which is a whole lot of nothing per the shady purchase agreement.

  14. Thanks for hounding them on this, Watchdog. The hospital’s hugely important to everyone’s lives around here, and it’s very important that you help keep them accountable through your excellent reporting.

  15. Thank you Asheville Watchdog for being all over this story. But sadly, while they will now take public comments, It will unfortunately fall on uncaring, deaf ears. Nothing more than letting us vent while they nod their heads sympathetically and pretend to give a hoot about us or our complaints. Then they will leave and forget about us before they even get to their cars. But at least the AVL watchdog will not forget.

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