Internet Explorer no longer supports some features of our website. For best results, use Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Initiates Process to Explore Options for the Future

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is committed to doing everything it can to secure the brightest possible future for our hospitals and the patients and communities we serve. To that end, our Board of Trustees recently completed a strategic planning process designed to ensure we continue to be well-positioned in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

As part of that work, we realize that meaningful relationships, and a willingness to embrace innovative collaboration, are going to be required to succeed. Therefore, the ARHS Board of Trustees announced that it is formally exploring a potential relationship with another health system to accelerate access to new technology and expand local healthcare services, allowing us to advance patient care in ways that we could not easily do on our own. (Read Press Release)

As we move through this exploration process it is important to note that nothing changes today. Our patients will continue to see their doctor, the same friendly and caring team members and access the services and clinics as they always have. That will not change even if we decide to have a relationship with another organization.

Our number one focus remains on providing exceptional care for our patients. We know that you will likely have questions about what happens next and what this means, and we are committed to keeping this webpage up to date with the latest information.

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Why is ARHS doing this?

As part of its patient and future-focused imperative, the ARHS Board recently completed a strategic planning process designed to ensure our health system continues to be well-positioned for the future. The decision to explore a relationship reflects our Board’s vision to broaden and deepen our primary care base, ensuring accessibility especially for more vulnerable populations as well as sustaining and enhancing the level of services we currently provide today.

 

What does ARHS hope to achieve with a potential relationship?

Following a strategic planning process, our Board is thoughtfully exploring what some of our options may be, including whether a relationship with a like-minded, not-for-profit organization would be the right way to accelerate our ability to expand local access to the high-quality services our patients need and deserve.

The ARHS Board of Trustees identified these specific qualities of any potential relationship:

  • A desire to support ARHS’s vision of serving the community with ongoing investments in services, technology, equipment and facilities.
  • Experience with rural healthcare and firsthand knowledge of the unique attributes of serving rural communities.
  • Technology infrastructure expertise that would transform ARHS’s technology into a state-of-the-art IT platform with an integrated Electronic Health Record.

 

How was this decision made? / Who made this decision?

Following a strategic planning process, our Board is thoughtfully exploring what some of our options may be, including whether a relationship with a like-minded, not-for-profit organization would be the right way to accelerate our ability to expand local access to the high-quality services our patients need and deserve.

 

What types of relationships are being considered?

The only relationship we are considering would allow us to maintain our not-for-profit status, local Board control and leadership while providing resources we can’t easily access as a standalone health system.

 

How would a relationship benefit ARHS, patients and the community?

We are excited about the ways our patients and communities may benefit through a potential relationship.

  • For example, a relationship with a larger organization provides smaller health systems like ARHS the ability to purchase large capital items at a reduced cost because the larger organization has contracts, services and technologies in place.
  • A high priority need for ARHS is access to a fully integrated Electronic Health Record system that creates a single medical record for patients everywhere they receive care within the health system, which is not something we can access or execute alone. A partner will need to be able to assist us with implementing a world-class EHR that enables patients to use one portal for all their health care needs and allows them to take a more active role in their care.
  • Relationships also increase ARHS’s ability to bring in new subspecialty services to the region which means patients don’t have to travel out of the area for care.

 

Is ARHS struggling financially?

No. ARHS is in a position of strength, both clinically and financially, allowing us to fully explore a range of options from some of the most respected healthcare organizations in our region.

 

Are you selling the health system?

No, ARHS is not being sold. We are committed to keeping our assets and services local, we are not exploring a merger, looking to change our not-for-profit status nor be acquired by another health system. This means we will not lose our local governance. We are only considering a relationship that would maintain local Board control and leadership.

 

What will happen to my donations to the Foundation? Will they stay in the High Country?

This announcement does not change nor impact donations to the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation (ARHF). Serving the healthcare needs of our community continues to be our highest priority and fundraising dollars are critical to our mission. We will continue to accept and encourage donations to the Foundation for that purpose. Our Foundation board remains local, and every dollar raised by the ARHF will continue to support quality healthcare for the High Country.

 

How does this announcement impact the current fundraising campaign?

Keeping care local is a cornerstone of the Foundation’s $12 million Higher Elevation campaign of community-anchored philanthropy to ensure the people of Western North Carolina have access to premier health and wellness care. The four campaign priorities are crucial for our future: support the construction cost of the Schaefer Family Patient Care Tower, enhance the Heart and Vascular Center, fund the Re-imagined Wellness and Orthopaedic Program and support the Residency Program and launch new primary care practices across WNC.

If anything, a potential relationship with another organization will enhance ARHS’s ability to further advance the Foundation’s mission by providing additional opportunities and innovative solutions for the communities we serve.

 

Will current healthcare services be impacted?

Patients will continue to have access to the services, physicians and caregivers they know today. Our vision is to provide an even stronger future for healthcare in the High Country, improving our ability to provide access to a wider range of high-quality healthcare services.

 

What happens next?

We are taking the time to thoughtfully work through the selection process. It is important to note that nothing changes today as we continue our number one focus on providing exceptional care for our patients. We know that employees, providers, patients and members of the community will have questions about what happens next and what this means, and we are committed to answering questions as best as we have more information to share.



Share this page

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail