After a several month process the WestCare Board of Trustees has voted to pursue a partnership with Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System and LifePoint Hospitals. This process was initiated by the MedWest Health System board with the support of both the WestCare and Haywood Regional Medical Center boards. Bunny Johns, the chair of the WestCare Board said about the agreement, “This is a game-changing step forward for the WestCare hospitals. This relationship provides us the opportunity to focus on our hospitals and medical community serving Jackson, Swain, Macon and Graham counties in a way that makes sense for local patients, their families, and physicians. WestCare will be operated independent of Haywood Regional Medical Center. We intend to continue to ensure that our patients have access to the full continuum of quality healthcare services as we develop new services to meet local needs while preserving our long-standing clinical relationship with Mission Health.” WestCare and Duke LifePoint will enter into a memorandum of understanding which is non-binding and signifies the intent of both parties to execute the partnership. Upon completion of a due diligence period, Duke LifePoint will purchase Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital and their respective outpatient facilities.