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Mission Hospital? It’s in ‘immediate jeopardy’
Friday, 16 February 2024 21:08

Has until Feb. 24 to fix deficiencies in care, or risks losing Medicare and Medicaid funding

From Staff Reports

Mission Hospital, based in Asheville, has until Feb. 24 to fix deficiencies in care, a letter from U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services states, the website Asheville Watchdog reported on Feb. 5.

Meanwhile, “Mission Hospital confirmed on Feb. 7 that it had met the deadline to submit a plan to correct safety concerns identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported on Feb. 7.

Seeking an interview or statement for more details, the Daily Planet reached out on Feb. 9 to the Nancy Lindell, director of public and media relations at Mission’s Health. 

Shortly thereafter on Feb. 9, Lindell emailed the Daily Planet the following statement in response to the crisis that Mission Hospital is facing:

“As we stated last week, there are no excuses for our patients receiving anything other than exceptional care, and Mission Health has already taken action based on the preliminary findings shared in December. 

“We are pleased to hear from our EMS partners and patients that those actions are yielding positive results, including decreased wait times for care.

 “We respect the process of these surveys and have submitted our corrective action plan to CMS in accordance with their deadline. 

“Again, these findings are not the standard of care we expect, nor that our patients deserve, and we are working diligently to ensure Mission Hospital successfully serves the needs of the Western North Carolina community.

Meanwhile, Asheville Watchdog reported that details of exactly what caused “immediate jeopardy” to patients have yet to be made public.

CMS’ letter — dated Feb. 1 and addressed to Mission CEO Chad Patrick — “is the federal agency’s official notification to the HCA Healthcare-owned hospital, informing leadership that it is in immediate jeopardy, the most serious deficiency possible for a hospital,” the Asheville Watchdog noted.
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APD interim police chief’s ‘report’ greeted with standing ovation
Friday, 16 February 2024 21:00
By JOHN NORTH
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After giving a detailed report on the current status of the Asheville Police Department, followed by fielding a barrage of often-tough questions, Mike Lamb, the city’s interim police chief — along with his two captains — were treated to a sustained and enthusiastic standing-ovation by members and guests of the Asheville-based Council of Independent Business Owners on Feb. 2 at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center. 

Assisting Lamb in presenting the report and answering questions — for about an hour — were Detective Division Captain Joe Silberman and Patrol Division Captain Sean Aardema. An estimated 100 people attended the early-morning breakfast meeting hosted by the pro-business group.

So how did the APD’s interim chief feel after the extremely rare, fired-up standing ovation from the CIBO “issues” forum attendees?

“It was good to feel the affirmation from the CIBO group,” Lamb told the Daily Planet, with a broad smile, during a brief interview immediately after the meeting.

In the absence of CIBO President Buzzy Cannady, John Carroll, CIBO’s past president, served as the meeting’s moderator and introduced Lamb, noting, among many details, that the APD’s interim police chief “likes fly fishing and hiking.”

Lamb then greeted the CIBO audience and introduced his two captains — Silberman and Aardema. He noted that he would be calling on them to provide aspects of his report on the APD.

When the interim chief then called on Silberman to address current staffing levels at the APD, the captain asked, rhetorically, if anyone at the meeting or “anywhere” was not familiar with the staffing shortage that the APD has suffered in recent years. 

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Political candidates recognized at pro-business group’s meeting
Friday, 16 February 2024 20:56

From Staff Reports

Prior to hearing a “report” on the Asheville Police Department on Feb. 2, the Asheville-based Council of Independent CIBO recognized those who are running for public office who were in attendance at the meeting.

Among the candidates recognized were: 

• State Rep. Eric Ager, who is running for re-election to his N.C. House 114 seat.

• Terri Wells, who is running for re-election as the Buncombe commissioner for District 2.

• Kevin Frazer, who is running for a seat on Asheville City Council, as he said, “to give it a voice for business — and making sure water and police are OK.”

• Amanda Edwards, who is in her second term as Buncombe commissioner, who is running for the commissioners’ chair being vacated by Brownie Newman, who is retiring. 

• Van Duncan, a former Buncombe sheriff who is running for commissioner as an “unaffiliated”, and “wants to support law enforcement to make sure they have what they need… Working on homelessness… and wants to make sure we’re spending our money in the way it needs to be” spent. 

• State Rep. Caleb Rudow, a North Asheville Democrat who is seeking his party’s nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, R-Flat Rock, for his seat.

• Ruth Smith, a Republican, an attorney and a Weaverville resident, who is running for the District 115 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.

In addition to Edwards, elected officials in attendance then were recognized, including Buncombe Commissioner Al Whitesides and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. Seated next to the mayor was Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell, the latter of whom was wearing a face mask.

 
CIBO fires barrage of questions at 3 APD leaders
Friday, 16 February 2024 20:54
By JOHN NORTH
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An almost 30-minute question-and-answer session that followed the nearly 25-minute Asheville Police Department report to the Asheville-based Council of Independent Business Owners on Feb. 2 began with a question from Nathan Ramsey, director of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board with Land of Sky Regional Council, who asked about the APD’s “homeless arrests” and “deterrence” during the COVID-19 era — versus now.

APD Interim Police Chief Mike Lamb replied, “We (the APD) were limited at that time on who we could take to jail — because of COVID limits at the jail... And word got around... Then we had officers resigning... So what we’re seeing now is that things are returning back to normal... At that time, people could ‘sign themselves out of jail.’ That’s ended.”

Now, the interim police chief said, “We’re looking at who’s committing these crimes because those who are doing it are committing an overwhelming number of crimes... As an agency (the APD), with reduced staffing, we have to pull our staff together to take someone off the road.

“In order to deter crime and reduce crime numbers, it’s a mix of outreach and enforcement. Our hope is anytime we arrest someone, we hope to get them out of ‘the cycle’ — it’s sort of a carrot and a stick. But you’ve got to have the deterrence,” Lamb asserted.

Next, Ruth Smith, an attorney from Weaverville, said, “First, congratulations on your efforts and success... Do you believe it (the addition of Buncombe sheriff’s deputies to help in patroling downtown on weekends) was necessary?”

 Lamb answered, “I appreciate the sheriff (Quentin Miller) trying to help us. I think that is what he’s trying to do. He will have several deputies on Friday night... and Saturday night. But it will be temporary... 

“We (at the APD) are filling an extra presence downtown with overtime (pay for the added city police officers), as is the sheriff’s office (for its deputies). Another thing to remember is — this is for an eight-hour period. This helps our merchants downtown with safety... Most importantly, this is collaboration between the APD and sheriff’s office...”

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