In Good Hands: A Comprehensive Description of Health Care Options across WNC

People seeking better health have been coming to Asheville and the surrounding mountains for decades, drawing upon the area’s reputation for restorative air, healing waters, and stimulating altitude. That history continues today, giving the Asheville area one of the highest concentrations of physicians in the state.

Because the area is so attractive, Asheville has more doctors per capita than most cities its size. But the wealth of talent and commitment isn’t confined to the region’s largest city. Western North Carolina has a number of fine hospitals that practice the latest techniques in treatment, surgery, and preventive care.

Keep reading for a comprehensive description of health care options across WNC.

In Good Hands: A Comprehensive Description of Health Care Options across WNC

Mission Health System

Leading the way is the region’s largest hospital system, the 1,100-plus-bed Mission Health System, which operates six hospitals in Western North Carolina, along with numerous outpatient and surgery centers. These include the flagship Mission Hospital in Asheville, along with:

  • Angel Medical Center in Franklin.
  • Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine.
  • Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands.
  • McDowell Hospital in Marion.
  • Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard.
  • Post-acute care provider, CarePartners.
  • Long-term acute care provider, Asheville Specialty Hospital.
  • The region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center.
  • Mission Children’s Hospital, the region’s only children’s hospital.

Mission Health employs approximately 10,000 team members, including more than 1,000 physicians trained in the latest developments in health care, medicine, and technology.

Because the area is so attractive, Asheville has more doctors per capita than most cities its size.

Mission Health traces its roots to the 1880s when the local women of the “Little Flower Mission” paid weekly visits to the homes of the needy. Since then, it has been recognized for delivering world-class care to the people it serves.

Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters, has recognized Mission Health as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems 2012-2015. Mission Health is the only health system in the nation to receive this recognition four years in a row, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve Top 15 recognition. Mission Hospital has been named one of Truven Health’s Top 100 for seven consecutive years, and Mission Heart has been named by Truven Health a Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital 10 times.

Just five hospitals in the U.S. have been named to the Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital list more times than Mission Heart. According to Truven, if all cardiovascular hospitals in the nation performed at the same level as Mission and the other top 50 heart hospitals, more than 8,000 lives would be saved and nearly 3,500 medical complications would be avoided each year.

Mission Children’s Hospital has 60 board-certified pediatric subspecialists in more than 20 different specialties. With 130 beds, Mission Children’s Hospital averages 3,000 patient admissions to its pediatric inpatient units, 4,500 outpatient pediatric surgeries, and nearly 14,000 pediatric emergency department visits annually. Each year, about 700 ill and premature newborns receive lifesaving care in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Babies admitted to the NICU at Mission Children’s Hospital go home 13 days earlier than the national average.

Mission Health’s focus is, has been and will always be to ensure that high quality, convenient, accessible, and affordable care is available to everyone, while ensuring the ability to meet the region’s population health needs for decades to come. Mission Health’s ultimate goal is to support all people to “Be Well, Get Well, and Stay Well.”

Mission Health’s network of primary care physicians and specialists provide quality convenient care close to where you live or work. To find a provider close to you, visit

Top Facilities across the Region

bradley-care-physicianWestern North Carolina is served by several other excellent hospitals, such as these listed below.

Angel Medical Center

Created in 1923, Angel Medical Center in Franklin is under a management affiliation with Mission Health System of Asheville. Angel is a 59-bed hospital with seven operating rooms and an 80-person medical staff, the majority of them board certified. Its emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day by nurses and physicians. Among the hospital’s latest additions is a digital mammography system that spots abnormalities to help doctors diagnose breast cancer in its earliest stage. Angel provides a safe patient experience through its patient safety team, medication usage review group, and environment of care team. It emphasizes exercise as a way for patients with cardiac and pulmonary problems to regain strength and health.

CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital

CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital in Asheville is an 80-bed regional referral center with programs for those suffering stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple trauma, amputation, joint replacement, and neurological disorders. The only licensed rehabilitation hospital in Western North Carolina, it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, meaning that it has met or exceeded rigorous rehab standards. Its therapists have an average of 14 years of experience, and its patient-to-nurse ratio is 6 to 1. It participates in a national database that compares its patient outcomes to similar rehabilitation hospitals around the country, which allows it to continually assess and improve the quality of its rehabilitation programs.

Charles George VA Medical Center

Charles George VA Medical Center is a 116-bed acute care facility with a separate 120-bed extended care and rehabilitation center. The facility serves more than 31,000 veterans from the Western North Carolina area and portions of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. It provides primary, tertiary, and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, mental health, neurology, oncology, dentistry, ophthalmology, geriatrics, women’s health, spinal cord injury, physical medicine, and rehabilitation. Because the hospital is a teaching hospital, it provides a full range of patient care services with state-of-the-art technology and programs in education and research.

Harris Regional Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, established in 1925, is an 86- bed acute and specialty care facility serving Western North Carolina. More than 100 physicians practice in locations throughout a multi-county region, including Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park of Franklin, an outpatient facility in Macon County. As a part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare, Harris Regional Hospital is supported by Duke University Health System’s world-renowned leadership in clinical excellence and quality care and LifePoint Health’s extensive resources, knowledge, and experience in operating community hospitals.

Haywood Regional Medical Center

Haywood Regional Medical Center is a 169-bed hospital serving Haywood County and surrounding counties with 160-plus physicians on its medical staff. Haywood Regional Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of services, including imaging, orthopedics, spine services, cardiology, general surgery, thoracic and vascular surgery, women’s care, emergency medicine, and behavioral health, and includes 12 multi-specialty physician clinics.

The campus, located in Clyde, is also home to the 54,000- square-foot Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center, the 44,000-square-foot Haywood Regional Outpatient Care Center (outpatient surgery center, laboratory, and imaging center, including women’s imaging and physician practices), and nearby, The Homestead, an inpatient hospice facility. Haywood Regional Medical Center also operates two urgent care centers in the county, in Hazelwood and Canton. Haywood Regional is also supported by Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

Haywood Regional Medical Center is also home to the Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center, the Haywood Regional Outpatient Care Center, and nearby, The Homestead, an inpatient hospice facility.

Highlands-Cashiers Hospital

In Highlands, the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital has 24 hospital beds, four operating rooms, and 84 nursing home beds. Its board-certified physician staff covers 14 areas of health care in specialties usually found only in much larger facilities. It continues to update its range of diagnostic procedures by adding new state-of-the-art equipment. The hospital provides general surgery, as well as hand, orthopedic, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal, dermatology, and plastic surgery. Nearly all of its physicians’ offices are on the hospital campus.

Pardee Hospital

pardee-south-avlTracing its history back to 1913, Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville is a not-for-profit community hospital managed by UNC Health Care. Pardee is licensed for 222 acute care beds and has 13 operating rooms and 238 physicians and specialists on its medical staff. It also has a 130-bed nursing facility. The medical staff works in 40 medical specialties. Henderson County’s second-largest employer, it has 1,200 employees. Established in 1953, the hospital offers an array of health services that include adult day health, rehab and a wellness center, a health education center, and urgent care. Pardee is owned but not funded by Henderson County.

Park Ridge Health

Park Ridge Health, also in Hendersonville, has a total of 103 hospital beds and eight operating rooms. Park Ridge Health has more than 141 physicians working alongside more than 1,100 care providers in 42 practices across Western North Carolina. Among the services it offers are audiology, behavioral health, cancer and cardiology services, dermatology, family practice, internal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pediatrics, podiatry, respiratory therapy, urology, and wound care.

The award-winning experience goes beyond patient care. Park Ridge Health is repeatedly ranked a top place to work. Gallup recently named Park Ridge Health a Great Workplace for the fifth year in a row. In 2015, Prevention Partners awarded Park Ridge Health the WorkHealthy America Excellence Recognition. The PRH Wellness programs, including Fit for Life and Fitbit incentive programs locked in this ranking for the second year in a row.

Among its additional honors and rankings, Park Ridge Health was rated No. 1 in Western North Carolina in Patient Engagement by Becker’s Hospital Review and Becker’s ASC Review. In 2015, Park Ridge Health patients made the hospital the No. 1 Patient Pick Hospital in North Carolina. Business North Carolina bestowed that honor on Park Ridge Health because 85% of patients who experienced care in its hospital said they would always recommend Park Ridge Health to others.

St. Luke’s Hospital

St. Luke’s Hospital, a critical access, 55-bed hospital that serves Polk County and upper South Carolina, has been operating for more than 80 years. Services include emergency, psychiatric, geriatric, wound, and home care, as well as surgery, radiology, and rehab and respiratory therapy. Working with Rosenberg Bone and Joint, it offers patients new procedures in hip and custom-fit knee replacement that result in shorter hospital stays and an improved recovery period.

Swain Community Hospital

Swain Community Hospital, established in 1950, is a 48-bed Critical Access Hospital serving a multi-county region with primary care, emergency medicine, and subspecialty care, including a pain clinic and a transitional care unit. Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital began an a liation in 1997 and joined Duke LifePoint Healthcare in 2014.

Transylvania Regional Hospital

Transylvania Regional Hospital is licensed for 92 beds and has six operating rooms. It opened the 4,000-square-foot Brevard Cancer & Infusion Center at the hospital in 2009 and has treated hundreds of patients. That same year it launched “The Joint Experience,” enhancing its joint replacement surgery services. The hospital also has a digital mammography system that allows images to be archived so they can be easily recalled for comparison with future tests.


This post is adapted from our annual Welcome to Western North Carolina magazine. Click here to read more online, or click here to order your own free copy.



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