Today’s round of questions, my smart-aleck replies and the real answers:
Question: Mission Health is building something on U.S. 25 just south of Airport Road. What is it going to be? The Mission/Pardee health care facility is about a mile or so to the south. Why are they building this so close by?
My answer: Can we all just breathe a sigh of relief that this isn’t a hotel? Although I would not complain if Mission included a brewpub in this building. I mean, who doesn’t prefer getting their medical treatment with a little IPA anesthesia first?
Real answer: Dirt has been getting moved around on this site for a number of weeks now, so I figured it was only a matter of time before a question came in. Once the “Mission Health” sign went up on the construction fence, it was a done deal.
Mission Health spokesperson Nancy Lindell explained what they’re building.
“Mission Health received Certificate of Need approval from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in May to build a freestanding emergency room at this location,” Lindell said via email. “We are currently constructing an Urgent Care facility that we hope to one day be able to turn into a freestanding ER, as part of Mission Hospital’s long-term plan to bring additional access to care closer to home.”
Mission announced plans for two new ERs back in May, one in Arden and another in Candler.
Lindell did not address if or how this may affect the operations of the nearby Mission Pardee Health Campus about two miles south on Hendersonville Road near the Buncombe/Henderson county line. That operation is a partnership between Mission, which is owned by Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare, and Hendersonville-based Pardee Hospital, which is operated by UNC Health Care.
Complicating the Arden project are two appeals filed with the state over Mission’s Certificate of Need for the ER project. Fletcher Hospital, Inc., affiliated with Advent Health, filed an appeal in June, as did Henderson County Hospital Corp., which is affiliated with Pardee Memorial Hospital.
Documents from the state’s Certificate of Need department show the approved capital expenditure on Mission’s Arden ER project is $13.3 million. Buncombe County property and tax records show Mission bought the 4.82-acre parcel in September 2021 for $2.85 million.
Mission also bought a .86-acre parcel just to the north, formerly home to a tire shop, for $770,000 in November of this year.
Mission’s application and the Certificate of Need department’s findings show Mission will build a 10,860-square-foot “freestanding emergency room on 4.2 acres of land” at the southeast corner of Hendersonville Road (U.S. 25) and Airport Road. The CON documents state the following components will be a part of the proposed facility:
• 12 exam/treatment rooms, including six general exam rooms, one airborne infection isolation exam room, one bariatric exam room, one pelvic exam room, one behavioral exam room, a triage room, and one trauma/resuscitation room.
• One CT scanner.
• One ultrasound machine
• One unit of fixed x-ray equipment.
• Laboratory services and pharmacy services.
H&M Construction, a division of Asheville-based M.B. Haynes Corp., is the general contractor on the project. A supervisor on site this week said they’re scheduled to be finished with construction in July of 2023, at which time they’ll turn the building over to Mission.
The state documents show the facility will serve patients in southern Buncombe County and northern Henderson County. In its application, Mission told the state the facility is needed because of “projected population growth and aging in the proposed service area,” as well as the “residential development and economic growth in the proposed service area.”
Also, Mission cited problems with geographic accessibility to Emergency Department services at the main Mission Hospital campus due to traffic congestion, as well as “Increasing ED volumes within the Mission Hospital service area and within Mission.”
Further, Mission cited, “Capacity constraints at the Mission Hospital main campus ED due to rising ED volumes, increasing patient acuity, operational and bed capacity limitations.”
Question: Will Congressman Madison Cawthorn receive a pension for his two years in Congress, and if so how much per year? Inquiring minds want to know.
My answer: No, but he will get a souvenir mix tape of his most embarrassing moments. It’s about six hours long.
Real answer: As Cawthorn will be a one-term member of the House of Representatives — at least for now — it looks like we won’t have to support him with a pension.
The Congressional Research Service notes that members of Congress can receive such perks from the Federal Employees’ Retirement System, or the Civil Service Retirement System, but with a caveat.
“The vesting requirement to become entitled to a pension benefit under CSRS or FERS is five years,” the Congressional Research Service states on its website. “Members who do not meet this five-year requirement — for instance, one-term members in the U.S. House of Representatives — are not entitled to an annuity under CSRS or FERS.”
The service notes that a one-termer with less than five years service could meet the vesting requirement “as a result of combining previous federal service or additional federal service subsequent to service as a member.” Cawthorn did work for former Congressman Mark Meadows, but it was a year and a half long stint, so he hasn’t reached the five-year threshold.
Got a question? Send it to John Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-337-0941.