Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Connections, Commitments and the Healing Of the Human Heart: John & Jen Opens in 35belo

 A gem of a show brimming with intelligence, wit and beautiful melodies, the chamber musical John & Jen opens in January in the intimate 35below theatre at Asheville Community Theatre. John & Jen stars local musical heavyweights Mark Jones and Kelli Mullinix in this two person tour-de-force. The musical will open Friday, January 9 and run through Sunday, January 25, 2015 with performances Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm.  Tickets are available online, over the phone, or in person at the Asheville Community Theatre Box Office.  All tickets are $20.00.

John & Jen is a truly original musical honoring brothers and sisters and parents and children, set against the background of a changing America between 1950 and 1990. It features book and music by Andrew Lippa, who also wrote the music and lyrics for The Addams Family, with music and lyrics by Tom Greenwald.

John & Jen has been a part of my life since I first heard the original cast recording in 1995,” said star Mark Jones. “This show resonates with me, because I have a very strong relationship with my family, and this show is a beautiful story about the relationships between parents, children, brothers and sisters and how those very relationships can change and affect you throughout your life.”

Adds Jones, “I had the pleasure of performing in the show in 2007, and I have always wanted to do it again. So, I asked my best friend, and local actress, Kelli Mullinix if she was interested, and the rest is history. This is a very challenging show for both of us, because it encompasses 40 years in Jen's life...and her relationship with her brother and her son. So, Kelli gets to play Jen from age 6 to 46...and I get to play both her brother and son from birth to age 18.”

Mark Jones and Kelli Mullinix are both beloved veterans of the local theatre scene, and each have lengthy theatrical resumes. At Asheville Community Theatre, Jones most recently appeared as Lurch in The Addams Family; Mullinix wowed audiences in the popular Honky Tonk Angels. Musical direction is by John Crawley. 

For more information about John & Jen or about Asheville Community Theatre, please visit www.ashevilletheatre.org.

Mission Health Partners selected as an Accountable Care Organization

ACOs Moving Ahead
89 New Accountable Care Organizations Join Program to Improve Care for Medicare beneficiaries
Mission Health Partners has been selected as one of 89 new Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), providing approximately 1.6 million additional Medicare beneficiaries with access to high-quality, coordinated care across the United States, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today. That brings the total to 405 Shared Savings Program ACOs serving over 7.2 million beneficiaries.  
Doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers establish ACOs in order to work together to provide higher-quality coordinated care to their patients, while helping to slow healthcare cost growth. Mission Health Partners will be one of 405 ACOs participating in the Shared Savings Program as of this January 1st.  Beneficiaries seeing healthcare providers in ACOs always have the freedom to choose doctors inside or outside of the ACO.

ACOs share with Medicare savings generated from lowering the growth in healthcare costs when they meet standards for high quality care. ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that work together to give Medicare beneficiaries in Original Medicare (fee-for-service) high quality, coordinated care. ACOs can share in any savings they generate for Medicare, if they meet specified quality targets. 

“Mission Health Partners will be joining a program that is one part of this Administration’s vision for improving the coordination and integration of care received by Medicare beneficiaries,” said Sean Cavanaugh, Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Medicare. “We look forward to continuing this partnership with Mission Health Partners in increasing value and care coordination across the health system.”

Since ACOs first began participating in the program in early 2012, thousands of healthcare providers have signed on to participate in the program, working together to provide better care to Medicare’s seniors and people with disabilities. The 89 new ACOs will bring approximately 23,000 additional physicians and other providers into the ACO program starting January 1.
ACOs are starting to see promising results. This fall, CMS released the early findings from the ACOs who started the program in 2012. ACOs improved on 30 of the 33 quality measures in the first 2 years, including patients’ ratings of clinicians’ communication, beneficiaries’ rating of their doctors, and screening for high blood pressure. ACOs also outperformed group practices reporting quality on 17 out of 22 measures.  ACOs are also demonstrating promising results on cost savings with combined total program savings of $417 million for the Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer ACO Model. 

While CMS is encouraged by what they have seen so far, they also understand there are opportunities to improve the program to make it stronger. Earlier this month, they published a proposed rule to update the guidelines for the program. CMS is looking forward to receiving comments from ACOs, beneficiaries, and their advocates, providers, and other stakeholders interested in seeing the ACOs succeed long-term.

ACOs are also just one way that CMS is working to reduce the rate of growth in Medicare spending while improving care. Medicare spending per beneficiary was essentially flat in nominal dollars in fiscal year 2014, and from 2010 to 2014, Medicare spending per beneficiary grew at a rate that was 2 percentage points per year less than growth in GDP per capita. While the recent slow cost growth has multiple causes, our reforms in the Medicare and Medicaid programs are meaningful contributors to these gains and are improving quality as well.  Preliminary data for 2013, for example, indicates improvements in patient safety has resulted in 50,000 fewer deaths, 1.3 million fewer patient harms, and $12 billion in avoided healthcare spending.  Recent research implies that many of these reforms may be generating savings in the private sector as well. 

Ultimately, today’s announcement is about delivering better care, spending dollars more wisely, and having healthier people and communities. ACOs drive progress in the way care is provided by improving the coordination and integration of health care, and improving the health of patients with a priority placed on prevention and wellness.

PLI employees raise more than $17,000 to support local families

PLI employees raised $17,400 this holiday season to support local families.

This more than doubles donations from last year. With these funds PLI has been able to participate in the following community efforts supporting children:
-Eblen St. Nicholas Program Eblen-Kimmel Charities
-Toys for Tots
-Children’s First/Communities in Schools Holiday Giving Program
-Hall Fletcher Elementary
With the money raised, PLI was able to sponsor over 200 children and their families this year!

Mission Health Signs New Contract with The Blood Connection

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 29, 2014) – Mission Health and The Blood Connection of Greenville, South Carolina have entered into an agreement through which The Blood Connection will be the sole provider of blood to Mission Health, as well as conducting local blood drives in all areas where Mission Health is present.  This new partnership replaces Mission Health’s previous arrangement with the American Red Cross.  Going forward, it is guaranteed that all blood donated stays here locally for the benefit of the community. 

“The decision to change blood suppliers was not based on quality reasons as much as it was about the availability of products,” said Priscilla Cherry, System Executive Director of Laboratory Services, Mission Health.  “Our patients can be assured that the blood supplied for Mission Health has always been of the safest and highest quality.  We are excited to begin this new partnership with The Blood Connection and anticipate many years of successful collaboration.”

Founded in 1979, The Blood Connection is a community blood center that collects, processes and distributes blood products and services for local and regional hospitals.  The Blood Connection centralizes donor recruitment, blood collection and inventory management to more efficiently reduce waste, prevent delayed surgeries and provide local hospitals with efficiencies.  These initiatives also allow for unparalleled cost reductions, all closely mirroring Mission Health’s 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.

It is our true honor to be partnering with Mission Health,” said Delisa English, President and CEO, The Blood Connection.  “We are committed to providing excellent blood products and services to the hospitals and communities we serve.  Thank you for entrusting us with this opportunity.” 

For more information about The Blood Connection, visit www.thebloodconnection.org.  For more information about upcoming Mission Health blood drives, call One-Call Scheduling at 828-213-2222, option 2. 

About Mission Health
Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. Mission Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems 2012-2014 by Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters. Mission Health is the only medium-sized health system to receive this recognition three years in a row, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve that distinction. 

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, long-term acute care provider Asheville Specialty Hospital and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 795 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 10,600 employees and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit mission-health.org or @MissionHealthNC.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Regeneration Station to Donate Free Home Furnishings to an Asheville Family in Need

The Regeneration Station is donating a house full of furniture and décor to an Asheville family in need this holiday season.

“We know this time of year can be especially hard on families who have fallen on financial hardship, or perhaps lost their home and/or belongings in a fire or some other tragedy,” said Tyler Garrison, founder of the Regeneration Station and Junk Recyclers, of Asheville. “Our team wants to help make this Christmas season merry for one special family.”

The Regeneration Station is donating furniture to fill a two-bedroom house or apartment. It will also offer décor to make the space feel like a home. (Mattresses and linens not included.)

How it works
Friends and co-workers may nominate a family. A family can even nominate itself. Nominators and nominees may stop by the Regeneration Station at 26 Glendale Avenue to pick up and drop off an entry, they may e-mail their story to susanmetcalfpr@gmail.com or fill out a form on the website (http://skohl9.wix.com/holidayhouse). 

Nominators must include the family's name, phone and e-mail address, if applicable, as well as the names and ages of people in the immediate family. Then, they must share why the family is in need and what it would mean to them to have their home furnished this holiday season.  

The deadline is December 31, 2014. The winner will be announced January 2, 2015.  The family must be willing to have its name, story and photographs used in media and social media coverage.

About the Regeneration Station
If you ask different people to describe the Regeneration Station, you will get crazy, different answers. A mega thrift store. A big box of beautiful and unique furniture. An antiques mall. A Disneyland for adults. A shopper’s fantasyland. An “experience.”  A dream come true. Words to describe the Regeneration Station are as eclectic as its offerings.

The Regeneration Station offers a wide variety of used furniture including early, primitive, mid-century modern and vintage antiques. There is furniture, antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing and accessories, and artwork. Visitors are invited to explore the many vendor/dealer booths as well as the Regeneration Station’s own inventory.

There is also upcycled treasure envisioned and created by The Regeneration Station’s team of craftspeople who believe that reclaimed wood or other materials still have beauty and value.

The Regeneration Station is located at 26 Glendale Avenue, in Asheville. Call (828) 505-1108 or visit http://junkrecyclers.net/the-regeneration-station/.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gray Line offers new "Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley Tour"

Gray Line Trolley Tours announces a new tour for the holidays - The Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley Tour.  The tour is designed to be a fun and festive celebration of the season featuring the lights and sights of the holidays, stories of local holiday traditions and singing of classic carols and songs of Christmas (songbooks provided).  The tour will travel throughout downtown, Biltmore Village and the historic neighborhoods of Montford and Grove Park.

The Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley Tour will operate Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from December 13th - 27th, and will depart at 7PM from the Olde World Christmas Shoppe located at 5 Boston Way in Historic Biltmore Village.  The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes.  The cost is $22 for adults and $11 for children (ages 5-11).  Reservations are required and can be made online at GrayLineAsheville.com or by calling 828-251-TOUR (8687).

Gray Line Asheville operates the familiar RED and WHITE trolleys seen throughout the city. The Hop-on/Hop-off Historic Tour, departs every 30 minutes (in-season) and provides locals and visitors with an informative and entertaining narration, as well as transportation with unlimited "hop-on/hop-off" at 10 stops along the route.  The company also offers the "Haunted History & Murder Mystery Ghost Tour," private group tours and charters for weddings and special events. Gray Line Asheville is proud to be the recipient of TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence with a 5-Star customer rating. www.GrayLineAsheville.com