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Haywood Regional Medical Center Update

May 22, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: HRMC passes inspection; Medicare funding restored

Medicare inspectors from the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation completed their full survey exit interview on Thursday afternoon and determined that Haywood Regional Medical Center is in compliance with the federal requirements set forth in the Medicare Conditions of Participation.

HRMC's coverage is restored and effective immediately. In addition, the following private insurers have reinstated coverage at HRMC: Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna Healthcare, Crescent, Medcost and all Medicare Advantage plans are accepted.

"This is a new beginning for Haywood Regional Medical Center. Everyone has worked for this recertification," said Al Byers, CEO.

"We can now get back to our mission of caring for our patients and caring for our community. Our citizens can be proud of our hospital and feel confident to turn to HRMC for their healthcare needs."

Eileen Lipham, vice president of professional services, led the hospital-wide initiative for re-certification.

"The success of this survey is due to the efforts of every single employee who came together as a team to look at ourselves, analyze our systems and find ways to work better together to achieve higher standards of health care. I am proud of their tireless work, commitment and focus on patient care," said Lipham.

Lipham also said she feels confident in HRMC employees' continuing accountability and improvement activities, which she said will translate into positive patient experiences and improved patient safety.

"The new systems are sustainable and mechanisms are in place to detect when processes are going well and to alert early on when problems emerge" she said.

Other continued initiatives on the HRMC Board level include revision of the hospital bylaws and expansion of the board to 12 members by 2009; the search for a new CEO; and the Future Directions Committee's exploration of options for future organizational alternatives and affiliations. In addition, a HRMC Community Relations Council is being formed to gather public input.

"The future holds exciting opportunities for our hospital and our community.

Our performance improvement process and procedures is active in all areas of the hospital and our physicians and board will sense the energy of renewal,"

said Byers. "We are pleased that this survey is completed and we are prepared for additional surveys."

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations survey is expected in the near future.

"I want to thank our community again for their tremendous support, which has meant a great deal to our employees and to me, personally," added Lipham.

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