Transformation of Park Ridge Health

Hospital Group changes name in 47 locations

By Pete Zamplas- People from Henderson County traumatized by physical abuse will get greater care locally, thanks to a $730,000 Duke Endowment grant to AdventHealth Hendersonville — formerly Park Ridge Health.

Victoria Dunkle of AdventHealth Hendersonville gestures as she and Noah George do a comical mock TV newscast, in 2017 in the Theatre with the Stars benefit for non-profits. Dunkle was a WLOS-TV anchor for 12 years, through 2015. Photo by Pete Zamplas.


Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking are among those from Henderson County who will receive specialized care in the new Phoenix Project that launches this year.

The Fletcher-based hospital is extra busy early into this new year. It got a name change Jan. 2, operates primary care in the Flat Rock area, and plans to open an urgent care facility in Arden in this spring.

AdventHealth recently got the three-year grant for the novel program in conjunction with two local nonprofits. One is the Safelight: Hope & Healing for Families shelter and services for battered women and children from Henderson County. The other is The Free Clinics (TFC) for uninsured, low-income clients of Henderson and Polk counties.

The Phoenix Project helps treat trauma of sexual assault, domestic and other interpersonal violence, child abuse, human trafficking, and substance abuse. The aim is get them to become more resilient, and on the road to recovery and self-reliance emotionally, physically and financially.

Specifically as part of Project Phoenix, the grant enables hiring a case manager for it working at TFC in East Flat Rock.

The grant also funded hiring a certified physician assistant as the first one for Safelight’s Believe Child Advocacy Center in its complex in Downtown Hendersonville.

The P.A., who started last month, conducts “comprehensive forensic exams and interviews of child victims of abuse and neglect,” AdventHealth spokesperson Victoria Dunkle told The Tribune. Dunkle, WLOS-TV anchor in 2003-15, is on Safelight’s board.

Safelight’s Advocacy Center for two years has helped youth deal with “interpersonal violence, sexual assault and adverse childhood experiences” and abuse of others that they witness, Safelight Exec. Dir. John Lauterbach stated. Work is coordinated with efforts of medical staff, law enforcement, prosecutors, Social Services and others.

Medical help is more readily available for Safelight clients. This is since the TFC campus now is home for two AdventHealth physicians for obstetric, gynecology and behavioral health care and a nurse practitioner for primary care.

Psychological care is often a first step toward a client breaking free of addiction and an abusive partner, Lauterbach told The Tribune. “It’s hard to afford” various medical care, on one’s own.
“Our clients have priority” for these services, Lauterbach noted. This AdventHealth clinic seeks patients from the general community, regardless of income level. The Free Clinics is “giving us space,” Dunkle noted. The Phoenix case manager is at the TFC center.

TFC is based 841 Case St., off Upward Road near the Spartanburg Highway (176), in East Flat Rock. It earlier has provided some of its space for Pardee’s Flat Rock Family Health Center, and now affiliates with AdventHealth.

“Trauma-informed care” is the vehicle to tackle the “unique needs of survivors,” The Free Clinics Exec. Dir. Judith Long explained. She calls it an “evidence-based care training model, that recognizes and addresses through the appropriate clinical measures the trauma that the person has experienced. And it also addresses the secondary trauma absorbed by the care team, during the provision of care to that survivor.”

The project targets among others under-served groups such as homeless and minority women, those pregnant facing an addiction and/or mental disorders, and females afflicted with HIV or Hepatitis C. “We are seeing more (such) clients coming to the Phoenix Project, from Safelight and other shelters,” Dunkle said. Lauterbach noted national data indicates a recent and alarming rise in pregnant women who have substance addictions.

Long added, “ The Phoenix Project is the result of Safelight sharing the need for this type of care for vulnerable clients. Safelight approached AdventHealth Hendersonville and The Free Clinics to create an innovative model, to address the need for care of these targeted populations.”

AdventHealth Hendersonville V.P. of Physician Services Christy Sneller stated, “Safelight is an amazing resource for needs of survivors. But they need help connecting this population with health care. That is why we formed the Phoenix Project — to help AdventHealth and The Free Clinics round out this care for the whole person.”

AdventHealth’s in-house treatment of addition looms as an optional further step, Dunkle indicated. “This aspect of the Phoenix Project will serve as an additional resource, for health departments that are seeking out and serving this specific population of pregnant women who are struggling with addiction. It is currently in the development stage of the project.”

The private Duke Endowment, based in Charlotte, was begun in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke (1856-1925). He built up Duke Energy and Duke University. His endowment has reportedly given more than $3.6 billion in grants.

Urgent Care Expanding
Another new venture is AdventHealth’s Centra (urgent) Care in Arden, due to open in spring. It is at 436 Airport Road, at Rockwood Road, near the I-26 interchange.

Urgent care includes stitching wounds and X-rays, but not life-threatening emergencies. This is a more affordable option to the hospital emergency room. It fits in travelers and other walk-ins, such as those who lack a primary care physician or timely appointment with one. Also there will be PT Solutions physical therapy.

Price and convenience is in urgent care’s favor. “We are pleased to add this new, convenient access to care for our friends, family and neighbors,” Pres./CEO Jimm Bunch stated. It provides “the same level of whole-person care — mind, body and spirit — you have come to expect” and “when and where you need it.”

Pardee UNC Health has three urgent care centers. One is by Epic Theatres. (AdventHealth has doctors and surgeons nearby at 207 Linda Vista Dr., near Four Seasons Boulevard.)

Two other Pardee Urgent Care centers are by the Henderson/Buncombe border, the medical consumer front lines. One is on the Mission-Pardee Health Campus in Fletcher/Arden, along with a YMCA. It is at 2695 Hendersonville Road (U.S. 25), near Ingles in Fletcher. The latest Pardee Urgent Care opened in ‘17, in Mills River at 3334 Boylston Hwy merely five miles from AdventHealth’s new site.

Also in Mills River, Henderson County-owned Pardee is building a $16 million surgical center with two operating rooms, on land off N.C. 280. he plan is for physicians to invest in Pardee Partners Ambulatory Surgery Center, which is due to open in two years in July of 2021.

Parent group AdventHealth stamped its name on all 47 of its hospital campuses in nine states. The Seventh-day Adventist Church-affiliated network changed its own name, from Adventist Health System. It is among the largest faith-based medical systems in the country, and is 109 years old.

Hospital name changing is a trend, along with partnering with academic medical institutions. Pardee Hospital became Pardee UNC Health Care, to reflect its affiliation with UNC including for enhanced oncology (cancer) care. AdventHealth is now working with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for cancer treatment.

Starting Jan. 2, Park Ridge turned into AdventHealth Hendersonville. “AdventHealth is promising to fundamentally transform the way you receive health care, and finding ways to lower the cost of that care,” CEO Bunch said. “This transformation allows us to provide an experience that is comprehensive, connected, and easy to navigate. The unity of our company and culture will empower us more than ever to provide care as a team and fulfill our mission of ‘Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.’”

Those who were AdventHealth patients elsewhere can have their medical records transferred to the hospital in Fletcher. Now, with a uniform name, they better recognize these are sister hospitals.

AdventHealth’s top administrator, Pres./CEO Terry Shaw, stated “our facilities and team members are galvanized around one name, brand and mission. We will deliver on our promise of wholeness, and make the health journey easier for consumers.”

“The Whole Care Experience” and “feel whole” are new mottos. Board Chr. Gary Thurber said “we are proud to carry on this (150-year ministry) legacy as AdventHealth to provide healing, express love, and impart hope upon those we encounter on our sacred mission to deliver Christ-centered, whole-person care.”

Free Clinics; Safelight
Now for more about the two groups working with AdventHealth in Project Phoenix. The Free Clinics (TFC) relies on partnering healthcare providers and volunteers to provide indigent uninsured locals with health care, access to needed medication, case management, and preventative health education.

TFC has medical acute care, a dental clinic, chronic and specialty care such as for diabetes and a monthly eye clinic, psychiatric counseling, a pharmacy, and medication therapy management.

Mainstay, which first operated a shelter 34 years ago in 1985, in 2016 absorbed The Healing Place into what is non-profit Safelight, Inc. In ’97, The Healing Place joined with FOCUS.

FOCUS assisted sexually-abused children such as with therapy, medical exams and forensic interviews with victims and support in prosecuting sexual offenders.

Mainstay in 2008 moved its shelter away from a high-profile spot on Main Street, to a larger building closer to the city police station. This enabled quicker emergency police response, and thus greater security.

Safelight’s shelter was renovated in 2017, and provides 35 beds with private bedrooms for families instead of only large dorms. Safelight bought an adjacent building, also providing more emergency living space. Its centers include Child Advocacy, and Family Service Outreach Center and its counseling.

Lauterbach, a Montreal native and Florida State alum, succeeded Tanya Blackford a year ago. He led Caring for Children in Buncombe County for 24 years, to 2001.

Wendy McEntire directs Safelight job training. It began with Dandelion Cafe in ’13, to help physically-abused women get on their own and on their feet financially and emotionally long-term. Interns strengthen interpersonal skills helpful in jobs. Kat Nevel manages the cafe at 127 Fifth Ave. W. It is open M-F 9:30-2:30, and features locally-grown food.

Safelight Resale Store internships started in ’16, then sewing skills in ’17.
In 1985, Mainstay for battered women merged with church-organized The Women’s Crisis Ministry, which counseled women about divorce and mourning. The two groups served 90 women in their first year and a half.
The Healing Place began in ’86, and in ’90 incorporated into the non-profit Rape Crisis Center of Henderson County. A year later, abused children were also helped. The group became The Healing Place: A Sexual Assault Response and Resource Center.

The group was the beneficiary of film star Burt Reynold’s one-person show about his life, in 1991 in Flat Rock Playhouse.

For more on Safelight, check, or call 693-3840. Its round-the-clock crisis Safelight Response Line is 693-3850. Its retail store, open to 4 p.m. (M-Sat.), is at Church Street and Fifth Avenue.

Call 697-8422 or check, about that group. Check or call (855) 774-LIFE (5433) for more on AdventHealth Hendersonville services.

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