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Features Mission Health System CEO visits Franklin to discuss health care

Dr. Ronald Paulus, President and CEO of Mission Health System and Mission Hospital visited Angel Medical Center on Monday to speak on the future of healthcare in the region. Dr. Paulus (center) spoke with Dr. Ron Bernard, AMC Anesthesiologist and Ron Winecoff, owner and broker of Re/Max Elite Realty of Franklin about the community’s role at AMC.The President and CEO of Mission Health System and Mission Hospital, Dr. Ronald A. Paulus, M.D., MBA visited Angel Medical Center (AMC) on Monday morning to speak to AMC's staff and members of the community about the partnership between the two entities.

Dr. Paulus, who assumed the position of President and CEO of Mission in September 2010, spoke to community members about the importance of continuing AMC's exceptional local care for the people of Macon County.

“We are a community and the community is us,” said Dr. Paulus. “The Mission Health System is the only locally owned and locally governed system serving Western North Carolina and we believe that sense of community is crucial while providing quality, personal care to every patient.”

Mission Health System has five hospitals in their system, said Dr. Paulus. The main and largest hospital in the system is Mission Hospital with the other four centers being AMC in Franklin, hospitals in Transylvania and McDowell counties and one in Spruce Pine.

Dr. Paulus commended the staff at AMC on their success over the past 90 years. “Thank you for being who you have been over the past 90 years and we look forward to working alongside you to ensure another successful 90 years,” said Paulus.

During his address to community stakeholders, Dr. Paulus noted that the medical field is ever changing and through the partnership he hopes Mission and AMC can learn from one another in order to provide the best care possible for people in Western North Carolina.

“I do not think Asheville or Mission has all of the answers,” said Dr. Paulus. “But we are here to work together to figure things out. The community is the hospital and needs to be a part of this partnership.”

One of the changes that Dr. Paulus noted was the continuing increase in need for the services that AMC provides. He noted that the healthcare system has a “tsunami of patients needing inpatient services,” while the system's primary patients are those seeking outpatient services. The need is growing and AMC and Mission need to work together to meet those needs.

Dr. Paulus also noted that a huge improvement to AMC will come in transitioning into a digital operations system. He stated that in three years, AMC will be a completely different hospital in regards to the technology upgrades it will experience. “We use a system called datalink which allows patient records to be easily accessed by all hospitals in the Mission Health System,” said Dr. Paulus. “That accessibility will change AMC entirely and makes things easier and more efficient.”

The partnership between Mission Hospital and AMC, which just completed its first year, allows Angel Medical Center to capture the management expertise of Mission as well as allow Franklin’s hospital to reap the benefits of equipment contracts and buying power owned by Mission Hospital, which will allow Angel to receive the same substantially discounted pricing.

About Dr. Paulus

Dr. Paulus, who has achieved national recognition in his role as Executive Vice President, Clinical Operations and Chief Innovation Officer at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, will be the first physician to assume the top executive position at Mission and the first in N.C. to lead a community-owned, notfor- profit health system.

Dr. Paulus, 49, had been at Geisinger since 2005, where he served as executive vice president for clinical operations and chief innovation officer. That health system gained national attention during the recent healthcare reform debate as one of the country's leaders in delivering high quality, cost-effective care. While at Geisinger, Dr. Paulus had responsibility for more than $1 billion in clinical operations including two hospitals, more than 40 clinics and over 8,000 employees.

"One of the things that attracted me to Mission Health System is the long history of collegiality and cooperation among the hospitals and physicians in Western N.C. to provide the best care close to home. This is one reason why the region continues to be ranked as among the nation's best for providing high quality, low cost care. I look forward to getting to know the physicians and my fellow hospital CEOs personally and learning from them how we can work together to improve the health of the region," Paulus said when first accepting his role at CEO.

Dr. Paulus earned his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, receiving the school's highest graduation recommendation of “Outstanding.” He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at the U.C.L.A. Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Paulus holds an M.B.A. with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School with a concentration in Healthcare Management, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School with a concentration in Health Policy.


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