Western Carolina University, Harris Regional Hospital, Swain Community Hospital announce five-year exclusive partnership; hospitals become official healthcare provider for Catamount Athletics

September 8, 2016

Cullowhee - Western Carolina University, Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital today announced a five-year partnership for athletics stemming from The Ascent Partnership created last fall. With the agreement the hospitals become the exclusive healthcare provider for Catamount Athletics, covering all sports, athletes, and seasons.

“Catamount Athletics has had a great relationship with Harris Regional Hospital and its subsidiaries over the years, and we are thrilled to continue this partnership for many years to come,” said WCU Director of Athletics, Randy Eaton. “This agreement will continue the great medical care we receive for our student-athletes and also provide Catamount Athletics financial resources that will benefit our student-athletes.” 

“Our exclusive agreement with Catamount Athletics is an extension of The Ascent Partnership which formalizes the multiple relationships our hospitals have had with WCU for decades,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “Through the athletic agreement our hospitals will be known throughout our communities and region as ‘The Official Health System Partner of Western Carolina Athletics – Caring for the Catamounts as part of The Ascent Partnership’. We’re excited to see that happen”.  

The hospitals’ support for Catamount Athletics includes athletic training and game coverage for WCU athletes, clinical rotations for physical therapy and sports medicine students, and exclusive corporate sponsorship support.

About The Ascent Partnership

The Ascent Partnership is the formal collaboration between Western Carolina University, Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital focused on ensuring access to quality health care in North Carolina's westernmost counties. Partnership initiatives include training the next generation of health care workers and supporting educational and outreach activities that benefit the health of those living in the region. The Ascent Partnership was officially named in 2015 after a decades-long relationship between the organizations featuring clinical training opportunities for students and hospital support for WCU's athletic teams and arts events.

About Harris Regional Hospital & Swain Community Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital, established in 1925, is an 86-bed acute and specialty care facility serving Western North Carolina with more than 100 physicians practicing in locations throughout a multi-county region, including Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park of Franklin, an outpatient facility in Macon County.

Swain Community Hospital, established in 1950, is a 48-bed Critical Access Hospital serving a multi-county region with primary care, emergency medicine and subspecialty care including a pain clinic and a transitional care unit. Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital began an affiliation in 1997 and joined Duke LifePoint Healthcare in 2014.

About Duke LifePoint Healthcare

Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Health® (NASDAQ: LPNT), was established to build a dynamic network of hospitals and healthcare providers. The joint venture, which brings together LifePoint's experience in community-based hospital management and Duke's world-renowned leadership in patient safety and clinical quality systems, is strengthening and improving healthcare delivery by providing community hospitals the clinical, quality and operational resources they need to grow and prosper.