HCA Mission Cancer Center struggles to retain physicians, NC Attorney General threatens litigation

Staffing levels at HCA’s Mission Cancer Center in Asheville have reached a concerning low, with only one medical oncologist remaining at the hospital.Many of the doctors have cited ‘concerns about declining patient care, job burnout, and frustrations with HCA’s emphasis on profits’ with one doctor explaining that Mission used to be “primarily run by doctors and nurses and now it’s being run by businessmen.”


The North Carolina Department of Justice has expressed serious concern over the reduction of physicians, threatening litigation if the hospital does not restaff immediately.Since the sale of Mission Health System to HCA Healthcare in 2019, the entire hospital has seen a mass exodus of physicians, with more than 200 doctors having left the system by February 2022.  


Mission patients are also feeling the squeeze of the staffing shortage in the ER, as they experience significantly longer wait times between ambulance pickup and emergency room admission. HCA’s staggering ambulance bay wait times are causing fewer ambulances to be available across the region, according to Buncombe County EMS Medical Director Stace Horine, MD.