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The entrance to Transylvania Regional Hospital, which has been on the same site since the early 1970s. (Courtesy photo)

Today local residents and Transylvania Regional Hospital officials will meet to discuss the formation of a community advisory group who will address the public’s concerns and issues with the hospital.

The group’s creation was suggested by Mark Weinstein – Brevard Music Center’s president – and local architect Parker Platt to HCA Healthcare’s CEO Sam Hazen who as recently reported, came to Brevard to meet with Weinstein, Platt and Brevard Mayor Maureen Copelof.

“I was very impressed with him,” said Weinstein. “He listened to us. He understood what we were saying. This is the beginning of the possibility of change. And the change we want to see is this has been a community hospital for generations.”

Platt said it concerned him that TRH continues to have a “challenged, if not failed, relationship with the community.”

However, he and Weinstein said they are optimistic that Hazen listened to their concerns. “I think there’s a chance of change now, whereas I’m not sure I would’ve thought that before meeting Mr. Hazen,” said Weinstein.

Last year Weinstein and Platt resigned from the hospital’s board voicing concerns about TRH’s future.

“We will be active on this new community board and help shape how TRH works,” said Weinstein.

Platt said they told Hazen about the community relations problems.

“People don’t trust HCA,” Platt said. “They’re not trusting TRH right now. We want TRH to deserve our trust again.”

“What it actually becomes remains to be seen,” he said of the proposed new advisory group.

As previously reported, Copelof said they also asked Hazen if it was possible for the community to buy the hospital back.

He said it wasn’t an option. Copelof said they were also told they would receive a “fact sheet” on metrics.

It’s not clear on what those metrics will be, but they could include such things as how many surgeries have been performed at TRH and how the numbers compare to previous years and how many beds are occupied. Nancy Lindell, the division director of public and media relations for HCA Healthcare’s North Carolina Division, also provided comments about the meeting with Hazen.

“We were pleased to welcome HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen to Transylvania Regional Hospital last week and to meet with Brevard Mayor Copelof and other community members. Sam values relationships with local leaders and wanted to reassure Mayor Copelof that he shares her commitment to making Mission Health a success in serving the Brevard community.

“We discussed HCA Healthcare’s more than $14 million investment in TRH in the past three years in several significant and much needed infrastructure projects such as roofing, renovation of three operating rooms, and replacing both the MRI and CT and adding a new helipad.

“Mission Health selected HCA Healthcare because it offered the financial stability to help preserve and expand high-quality healthcare for generations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought unforeseen challenges, but we are confident we are moving forward. We are hiring a new surgeon for TRH and a new provider has been caring for Toxaway Health Center patients for several months. In addition, both area primary care practices have been renovated, and five new primary care providers have been recruited in recent months.

“We were encouraged by one community member’s suggestion to form a community advisory group with CEO Michele Pilon and work together to constructively communicate and demonstrate our commitment to the hospital, the Brevard community and to the quality care that has always been delivered.”

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