Mission Health announced it will close the labor and deliveries operations at its Angel Medical Center in Franklin. The services had been running at a loss of millions of dollars a year. Starting July 14, expectant mothers will have to travel to Duke LifePoint’s Harris Regional Hospital, 25 minutes away in Sylva, or Mission’s main campus, 90 minutes down the road in Asheville. Pre-natal, post-natal, and other gynecological care will still be provided in Franklin. Last year, Mission announced a $4.3 million expansion of the women’s unit at Angel. Then, architects discovered structural problems with the hospital that would cost $50 million to remediate. Some structures are over 60 years old, and there is insufficient room for patients and offices. When Harris later announced a $6 million expansion to its women’s unit, Mission leadership was assured the region would not want for service and turned its attention to building a new hospital, without labor and delivery, for $43 million. The new building could be operational in three or four years if other hospitals don’t challenge Mission’s application for a Certificate of Need. Already, a large percent of Franklin residents travel to Asheville for deliveries, and many who were using Angel’s center were coming from other parts of Western North Carolina.