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Features Health & Wellness Mission Health and Mountain Area Health Education Center announce new management agreement

From left is Jill Hoggard-Green, PhD, RN, Chief Operating Officer of Mission Health and President, Mission Hospital and Mission Medical Associates; Jeffery E. Heck, MD, President and CEO, MAHEC; and Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mission Health.Mission Health has announced a pioneering management agreement with Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). Under that agreement, MAHEC will lead all Mission Medical Associates (MMA) primary care practices.

“MAHEC is nationally known for their quality in educating primary care providers, and they are experts in leading physician practices,” said Jill Hoggard-Green, PhD, RN, Chief Operating Officer of Mission Health and President, Mission Hospital and Mission Medical Associates. “Mission sought out MAHEC to provide management services because of their expertise and leadership. Given that we also share a common vision that is patient-centered, evidencebased and safety net oriented, we wanted to leverage their expertise as a perfect complement to our MMA physicians to further develop and enhance the exceptional care our patients receive.”

With a common focus on improving the health and well-being of all of the residents of western North Carolina, MMA and MAHEC will explore ways to improve and expand access to primary care as a vital part of an integrated healthcare delivery system in this region, and also develop innovative models of care that create new opportunities for our communities. Building on the longstanding, positive relationship between MMA and MAHEC is a thoughtful, responsible and inclusive approach to addressing regional needs and the challenges of healthcare reform.

Jeffery E. Heck, MD, President and CEO, MAHEC explains, “MAHEC has been a leader in family medicine for 40 years with top-quality faculty and graduates. Nationally our residency training programs are highly sought after and we are well positioned with the clinical and academic expertise needed to help our region transform the role of primary care to improve health outcomes.”

Primary care has never been in a better position to assert and extend its critical role in our health care system. With changes in the national healthcare landscape, there is an untapped opportunity to strengthen and expand the role of primary care and its unique relationship withpatients and families. The expanded MMA and MAHEC relationship has been created to improve health outcomes, reduce costs and provide a better patient experience by implementing evidence- based models of patient- centered care within all MMA practices.

“Many of the MMA providers graduated from a MAHEC family residency program and/or have a long history of collaboration with MAHEC,” said Steve Hulkower, MD, MAHEC’s Director of the Family Medicine Division, “We have a ready-made group of caring clinicians based on trust, values and a common mission.”

Together, MMA and MAHEC have the expertise, experience and technical support needed to assemble an unprecedented primary care center of excellence in WNC to measure outcomes, implement evidence-based research, train providers, and collaborate with other partners. That capacity is critically important because WNC faces a dramatic shortage of primary care providers, limiting access to care for many of our residents. The participation of all MMA doctors in the training of primary care providers including medical students, residents, pharmacists, and dentists is critical to addressing that need.

“The expanded MMA/MAHEC collaboration represents another component of our unwavering commitment to our BIG(GER) Aim: to get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience for the patient and family,” said Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mission Health. “As health care continues to evolve we feel confident that novel arrangements like this will enable us to meet the needs of our communities despite declining reimbursement, increased regulatory requirements and other factors that could impede care.”

About Mission Area Health Education Center (MAHEC)

Established in 1974, MAHEC serves 16 counties and has residency and fellowship programs in Family Medicine, Ob/Gyn, General Dentistry, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice/Palliative Medicine. For more information, call 828-257-4400 or visit

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