Blue Ridge Regional, McDowell Hospitals Add Nine Specialists to Staff

SPRUE PINE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2016) –  Blue Ridge Regional Hospital and McDowell Hospital, part of the Mission Health network, are pleased to announce the addition of nine new medical specialists over the past year.

The physicians, who serve both facilities, were added specifically to provide needed medical expertise to these communities, in the areas of urology, orthopedics, general surgery, emergency medicine and family medicine.

“We are constantly focused on improving the quality of care at our hospitals and ensuring that our patients have access to the best quality care, close to home,” said Rebecca Carter, MSN, RN, FACHE, President/CNO for Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. “These new physicians represent an investment in the health and well-being of western North Carolina, with a focus on bringing specialty coverage to the east region and this strategy is already paying dividends to our residents,” said Carol Wolfenbarger, RN, BSN, MSN, FACHE, President of The McDowell Hospital.

These new specialists are part of a Mission Health’s growing medical staff, which consists of more than 1,000 physicians certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties.

“The addition of needed specialists across the region is just one of many investments being made throughout western North Carolina to improve our community’s health and wellness,” said Ronald A. Paulus, MD, president and CEO of Mission Health.  “Training, attracting and retaining the best and brightest into our rural communities is our unwavering commitment to our patients.  We are appreciative and supportive of MAHEC and other collaborative entities who share our mission.”

MAHEC, or the Mountain Area Health Education Center, was established in 1974 and is a leader in graduate medical education and training for the next generation of family doctors, obstetricians, and dentists for WNC.

In addition to investing in new medical staff, Dr. Paulus noted that Mission Health is expanding and upgrading facilities across western North Carolina as part of its Mission Future Ready initiative.

For example, Mission Health is investing more than $45 million in the McDowell Hospital campus to upgrade and expand parts of the hospital, including expanded emergency room services, additional inpatient rooms and updated imaging equipment.

Blue Ridge Regional physicians recently moved into a new, state-of-the-art medical office building and also installed a 64-slice GE Optima 660 CT Scanner in its Imaging Services Department. This new best of breed technology gives the ability to deliver better diagnostic imaging with the potential for a lower dose of radiation — particularly important in pediatric patients.

For biographies of the new Mission practitioners, click here.

About Mission Health 

Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system and was recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems from 2012-2015 by Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters, becoming the only health system in North Carolina to achieve this recognition. Mission Health 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. With approximately 10,700 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 or @MissionHealthNC.

About Blue Ridge Regional Hospital

Blue Ridge Regional Hospital (BRRH), a member of Mission Health, is a not-for-profit community hospital serving Mitchell, Yancey, lower Avery and upper McDowell counties. Located in Spruce Pine, N.C., BRRH is a Critical Access Hospital operating 25 beds and has more than 300 employees, including 82 RNs. BRRH offers medical specialties to include emergency services, OB services, critical care, rehabilitation services and fitness center, cancer services, orthopedics, general surgical services, pain management, pediatrics and family medicine. For more information, please visit

About McDowell Hospital

McDowell Hospital, a member of Mission Health, is a not-for-profit community hospital serving McDowell County. Located in Marion, N.C., McDowell Hospital is licensed for 65 beds and has more than 400 employees, including 120 RNs. Medical specialties offered include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, urology, and obstetrics and gynecology. Currently, five of McDowell Hospital’s primary care practices have been recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as Rural Health Clinics. For more information, please visit

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