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Mountain Regional OB/GYN expands to provide care in Bryson City and Franklin

Megan Metcalf, MD wDr.Bruce w

The physicians of Mountain Regional OB/GYN are pleased to expand services to Bryson City and Franklin, providing a convenient option for women seeking obstetrical and gynecological care in the communities where they live. Dr. Mila Shah-Bruce and Dr. Megan Metcalf will see patients in Franklin at WestCare Medical Park of Franklin, 55 Holly Springs Drive, every other Wednesday beginning January 14th and in Bryson City at Swain Community Hospital, 45 Plateau Street, every other Tuesday beginning January 20th. Dr. Bruce and Dr. Metcalf practice in Sylva alongside Dr. James C. Smallwood at Mountain Regional OB/GYN located on the third floor of Harris Medical Park, 98 Doctors Drive.

In both the Bryson City and Franklin locations women will have access to the highest quality care provided by experienced physicians as well as the latest in imaging technology and other services located at Swain Community Hospital and the Medical Park of Franklin.

“It is our privilege to expand women’s care in the region with the addition of our Bryson City and Franklin locations through our longstanding commitment to serving families with care close to home,” said Steve Heatherly, president and CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital.

“In every aspect of our care we put the patient first. Having offices in Bryson City and Franklin means we can serve the patient where she lives, easing the burden of travel for those seeking the compassionate care we are pleased to provide,” said Dr. Shah-Bruce.

In addition to the locations providing women’s care in Sylva, Bryson City and Franklin, the mother-baby unit at Harris Regional Hospital is undergoing a renovation to include updated rooms, bathrooms, nursing stations and a Caesarean-section suite. The labor and delivery area of the New Generations Family Birthing Center was completed last summer funded by generous community contributions to the hospital foundation that served hospital needs for decades. New technology such as state-of-the-art fetal monitoring and high-flow oxygen systems were installed within the last two years, creating an environment in which infants needing a higher level of care can remain in the community where they were born.

“Harris Regional Hospital has traditionally served as the hub for deliveries across our region. All of the providers within our OB/GYN service line contribute to making Harris the heart of women’s care. Our new offices in Bryson City and Franklin will solidify that tradition for years to come,” Heatherly said.

To reach Mountain Regional OB/GYN for an appointment at any of the three locations call (828) 631-8913.

WestCare Health System was formed through a partnership of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital in 1997 and serves Jackson, Swain, Macon and Graham counties with primary and subspecialty care, outpatient facilities and urgent care.

Harris Regional Welcomes First Babies of 2015

hernandez babies

Harris Regional Hospital was pleased to welcome twin girls Sangelina and Klarajane Hernandez on Friday, January 2, the first babies born at the hospital in 2015. Sangelina and Klarajane were born to parents Amy Smoker and Raul Hernandez of Cherokee and weighed 8 lbs., 5 oz. and 8 lbs., 3 oz. respectively. The babies were also welcomed by big brother Waya, 4, and sister Jolyssa, 1, as well as maternal grandparents Jane Wolf and Richard Smoker, and paternal grandparents Angelina Martinez and Jose Hernandez.

Sangelina and Klarajane were delivered by Dr. Janine Keever with Smoky Mountain OB/GYN of Sylva.

Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital to host events to help community members sign up for insurance

Sylva & Bryson City, NC – Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital will host free events in Sylva and Bryson City in January providing education on the National Health Insurance Marketplace and offering free assistance to those wishing to sign up for coverage through the Marketplace.
The Sylva event will be held at the Smoky Mountain High School cafeteria on Thursday, January 15 from 5 – 7pm. The Bryson City event will be held at the Swain County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, January 20 from 5 – 7pm. Both events are open to the public and are free of charge.
Certified Application Counselors from the hospitals and local insurance brokers will be available at both events to answer questions and assist individuals with selecting a suitable coverage plan and in enrolling or re-enrolling in a coverage plan.
The Health Insurance Marketplace offers expanded access to low-cost healthcare coverage for people without health insurance or for those who are interested in exploring more cost-effective alternatives to their current coverage. The Marketplace is open for enrollment through February 15, 2015 and offers coverage suitable to individuals’ and families’ unique health care needs.

Obtaining health insurance coverage is important for many reasons, and coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace has many benefits, including:
• Coverage of costs for treatment of unexpected illness or injury.
• Paying less for coverage of in-network health care.
• Free preventive care, such as vaccines, screenings, and check-ups, even before meeting a deductible.
All community members are invited to attend the events on January 15 or January 20 to get one-on-one assistance in selecting and enrolling in an appropriate coverage plan. For more information on the events, call (828) 631-8924.
To enroll in a Marketplace coverage plan, visit www.healthcare.gov. For assistance enrolling or re-enrolling at any time, contact Harris Regional Hospital’s Certified Application Counselors at (828) 586-7355 or Marketplace representatives at 1-888-982-9144.
More information can be found at www.westcarehealth.org or by emailing westcare.CAC@medwesthealth.org.

Increase in Flu Causes Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital to Start Visitation Restrictions

Sylva & Bryson City, NC – Due to the rising number of flu cases in our surrounding communities and facilities, Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital have begun limiting visitors to the hospitals in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the flu to our patients, visitors, and staff.  Restrictions will apply to visitors 12 years old and under and any visitor with symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, sore throat, etc.).

According to the North Carolina Division of Public Health, the geographic spread of flu is now considered to be widespread, with four flu-related deaths having already occurred in North Carolina.

Exceptions to the restrictions, such as end-of-life circumstances, will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Respiratory and hand hygiene stations are located at all entrances and on nursing units for visitors. Restrictions will continue from now until there is a significant decline in cases or flu season is considered over.

Visitors that are not feeling well and those under age 12 are encouraged to call patients rather than visit.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the visitation restrictions please call 828-586-7000 or email info@westcare.org.

Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital laboratories receive accreditation from the College of American Pathologists

Sylva, NC – The Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has awarded accreditation to the laboratories at Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital based on results of a recent on-site inspection as part of the CAP’s Accreditation Programs.

The laboratories of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital are two of only 7,600 CAP-accredited facilities worldwide.
“Receiving CAP accreditation indicates that our labs are performing to the highest standards set by one of the most respected, leading accreditation agencies in the world. We’re very proud to have received this accreditation once again,” said Dr. Larry Selby, pathologist and lab director.
The U.S. federal government recognizes the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s, as being equal to or more stringent than the government’s own inspection program.
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is a medical society that serves more than 18,000 physician members and the global laboratory community and has held the gold standard in laboratory accreditation for more than 50 years. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care.
The Harris Regional Hospital lab has received CAP accreditation since at least 1990 and the Swain County Hospital lab has received accreditation since 1998 when the two hospitals merged. Both labs maintain CAP’s laboratory standards every day. During the CAP accreditation process, designed to ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and overall management.
“Earning CAP accreditation in our labs is one of the ways we work to ensure that our facilities and clinical processes are fully backed by leading accreditors and that we are positioned to provide world-class care each day,” said Steve Heatherly, President and CEO of Harris Regional and Swain County Hospitals. “Our laboratory staff are committed to the stringent standards set by CAP and demonstrate that commitment by receiving accreditation each year.”
More information about the College of American Pathologists and standards for accreditation can be found at www.cap.org.

Harris Regional Hospital to host wellness education event on healthy eating and fit lifestyle

Sylva, NC – Harris Regional Hospital will host a wellness education event centered around healthy eating and living a fit lifestyle on Tuesday, January 6 from 6-7pm in the main lobby at Harris Regional Hospital. The event is part of a year-long series of wellness events held in partnership with Jackson County Department of Public Health the first Tuesday of each month.
The hour-long event will feature a panel of experts clinically trained in nutrition and the benefits of regular exercise, including internal medicine physician Dr. Randall Provost, who will give a presentation entitled “Exercise is Medicine”.
Local fitness and recreation centers will also participate in the event, offering information on memberships, classes, programs, and more. Laura Rodi with the Jackson County Senior Center, Josh Moss with Catamount Crossfit, and Tracey Chapple with Sylva Yoga will be available to answer questions and provide education on their exercise programs.
Refreshments and door prizes will be available during the event. No reservations are necessary.
Tuesdays to Thrive is a series of events held the first Tuesday of each month in the main lobby at Harris Regional Hospital from 6-7pm. Each event is focused around learning valuable information, preventative tips, and evidence-based practices about important and timely health topics like diabetes, breast health, asthma and allergies, cancer prevention, healthy eating, and more.
A full calendar of Tuesdays to Thrive events and more information on December’s event can be found at www.westcare.org, or by calling Harris Regional Hospital wellness coordinator Melanie Batchelor at 828-586-7734.

National Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment continues, important deadline approaches

Sylva, NC – Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital are continuing to remind individuals without health insurance coverage that the national Health Insurance Marketplace is currently open for enrollment and re-enrollment. For those wishing to have coverage begin or continue starting January 1, 2015, the enrollment or re-enrollment deadline is Monday, December 15.
The Marketplace offers enrollment in affordable health coverage suitable to individuals’ and families’ unique health care needs. Obtaining health insurance coverage is important for many reasons. Coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace has many benefits, including:
• Coverage of costs for treatment of unexpected illness or injury.
• Paying less for coverage of in-network health care.
• Free preventive care, such as vaccines, screenings, and check-ups, even before meeting a deductible.
Individuals can enroll or re-enroll in Marketplace coverage at www.healthcare.gov.
For those re-enrolling, it is important to review information and make any necessary changes, such as income, household members, and eligibility for other insurance. This updated information will provide new eligibility results that can affect costs, health coverage programs for which individuals qualify, potential savings, and plan choices for 2015.
For those choosing to stay in the same plan, re-enrollment still must occur by December 15, 2014, unless the individual’s plan features automatic re-enrollment.
For assistance enrolling or re-enrolling, contact Marketplace representatives at 1-888-982-9144, or Harris Regional Hospital’s Certified Application Counselors at 828-586-7355. Information can also be found at www.westcarehealth.org or by emailing westcare.CAC@medwesthealth.org.

Free Lunch & Learns to be offered at Swain County Hospital Starting December 18th

Bryson City – Swain County Hospital and Swain County Health Department are partnering to promote health and wellness in our communities by beginning a monthly Lunch and Learn Series. The first one will be held Thursday, December 18th from noon to 12:30 pm. The topic will be “Getting Fit” and what resources are available in Swain County that help support physical activity and healthy living. The Lunch and Learns will be held in the Swain Medical Park (Old Hospital Hill Pharmacy Location). A light lunch will be offered free of charge to those in attendance.

The series will be held in December, February, April, June and August. The dates and topics for each month are as follows:

February 19th – Healthy Heart, Focus will be on general heart healthy behaviors and diet

April 16th – Stress Management, Learning and practicing stress management techniques

June 18th – Summer Safety, Tips for safe summer living

August 20th – Back to School – Healthy Families, Family Wellness and preparing for school to begin

Please make plans to attend these educational settings. If you would like more information contact Melanie Batchelor at 828-586-7734 or email info@westcare.org

Harris Medical Park to celebrate new providers and additions with community holiday open house event

Sylva, NC – Harris Medical Park will host a holiday open house with a special opportunity to meet and talk with physicians and mid-level providers on Tuesday, December 9 from 5 – 7pm.
Harris Medical Park is located at 98 Doctors Drive in Sylva, on the campus of Harris Regional Hospital, and is home to six physician practices of varying specialties, as well as imaging and lab services and a women’s health center. The open house event will provide community members with a special opportunity to meet and talk with providers, tour the practices and treatment areas, see equipment upgrades, and learn more about the care provided at Harris Medical Park.
Harris Medical Park is celebrating an eventful year, welcoming several new physicians and adding new, state-of-the-art equipment within practices and the imaging center.
The primary care practice Sylva Medical Center recently welcomed family practitioner Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez, who joined internal medicine physicians Dr. Randall Provost, Dr. Elizabeth Dixon, Dr. Steve Queen, and Dr. Leeann Manthorne, and began seeing patients in the practice in September.
Dr. James C. Smallwood’s practice Mountain Regional Gynecology recently expanded to include obstetrics, welcoming skilled obstetricians Dr. Mila Shah-Bruce and Dr. Megan Metcalf in August and was re-named Mountain Regional OB/GYN. The expansion also included the addition of new, state-of-the art in-office imaging and diagnostic equipment, including a GE Voluson E6 ultrasound machine which provides 3D and 4D images of babies in the womb, offering the highest quality of in utero images available. The quality of the images allows for diagnosis of abnormalities such as cleft pallet and spinal defects, helping prepare parents and often allowing for treatment in the womb, as well as an up-close look at babies’ faces and the ability to determine gender accurately. The new ultrasound equipment also provides the ability to perform trans-vaginal ultrasounds in the office that are much less painful than traditional equipment and provide 3D and 4D images that are essential to many diagnoses which previously required separate procedures and sometimes sedation. The ability to perform these diagnostic imaging procedures in the office often shortens the care process and may reduce charges for the patient. Mountain Regional OB/GYN is located on the third floor of the medical park and same-day appointments in the practice are often available.
WNC Pediatric and Adolescent Associates welcomed Dr. Nicholas Jernigan last winter, joining Dr. Charles Toledo and Dr. Brooke Budde in caring for babies, children, and teens. The practice is located on the third floor of the medical park across from general surgeons Dr. William Sims and Amy Sims, NP practicing at Mountain Valley Surgery and Dr. Billy Noell practicing at Paragon Surgical. Urologists Dr. Jerome Marchuk and Dr. Thomas O’Neill practice at Mountain Care Urology, located on the first floor of the medical park.
The women’s health center, also on the first floor of Harris Medical Park, adds another level of convenience in care, providing comprehensive breast care services, including digital mammography and stereotactic imaging for breast biopsy. Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator Carol VanCleve, RN also works in the center and sees patients throughout their treatment process, providing expertise and guidance beginning with the biopsy and diagnosis phase. In addition to mammography, a full range of imaging services is available at the medical park, including bone densitometry, ultrasound, MRI, and diagnostic radiology. Laboratory services are also available, adding convenience for patients who need same-day lab work.
Community members are invited to attend the open house to meet and talk with providers and celebrate the holiday season. Families are invited to bring children to visit and take photos with Santa Claus, who will be on-site for the event. For more information, visit www.westcarehealth.org or call (828) 631-8924.

LifePath Palliative Care and Hospice to hold special “Tree of Remembrance” memorial celebration on Friday, December 5

Sylva, N.C. – LifePath Palliative Care and Hospice, which serves the communities of Harris Regional and Swain County Hospitals, will hold a special memorial celebration entitled “Tree of Remembrance” on Friday, December 5 in the main lobby of Harris Regional Hospital at 6pm.

All community members are invited to attend to celebrate the lives of family members, friends, and loved ones who are no longer with us. The celebration will include special music, readings, and stories all focused around honoring and remembering our loved ones, with an opportunity to place butterfly ornaments on the Tree of Remembrance in memory of loved ones. A tree lighting ceremony will also take place during the event.

The tree will remain in place throughout the month of December and community members, patients, and staff are all welcome to place ornaments on the tree at any time.

LifePath Palliative Care and Hospice has been serving the community with the highest quality of end-of-life care to Jackson and surrounding counties for over 20 years. Board-certified palliative medicine specialist Dan Mackey, MD joined the LifePath team in the spring of this year and oversees LifePath’s clinical operations with direct involvement in each patient case. Mackey also sees patients from throughout the region as part of a palliative care clinic focused around treating rare, non-curative illnesses.

For more information on the event or on the services offered by LifePath, visit www.westcare.org or call (828) 631-1702.