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Features Health & Wellness

In an effort to improve access to care, customer service, and healthy patient outcomes, Macon County Public Health has implemented a new patient appointment system called “Open Access.” The Open Access system has replaced the old system of “established clinic days” in favor of a new system in which most services are available Monday through Friday. A primary goal of Open Access is to make it easier to schedule an appointment and reduce the wait time between when a patient calls and when they are seen. Open Access allows patients to be seen in the first available appointment slot, no matter what service they need.

According to Jimmy Villiard, Personal Health Section Administrator, “Since implementation of the Open Access system in mid-February, we’ve been able to catch up on a four week backlog of clinic patients waiting for appointments.”


Ladies Night Out is holding a special follow-up program to the March event on overcoming depression and reducing stress. This program will provide participants with tips and exercises to actually deal with depression and stress. The program will be held on Tuesday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Angel Medical Center.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, major depression affects more than 15 million American adults. Depression occurs twice as frequently in women as in men, for reasons that are not fully understood (see graph). Major depression can significantly interfere with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, activity, and physical health. Among all medical illnesses, major depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The Ladies Night Out speaker will be Sarah Altman, Community Based Clinician with Smoky Mountain Center.


MedWest Health System are inplementing the DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses. The award, presented in collaboration with The American Organization of Nurse Executives is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the extraordinary efforts nurses put forth daily in caring for their patients.

A total of 12 awards will be presented to nurses at MedWest hospitals – Harris, Haywood, and Swain – and outpatient facilities. All MedWest nurses are eligible for nomination, which will be accepted beginning April 1. The presentation of the first three awards will take place during National Nurses Week on May 6.


No public health threat has been identified as state environmental health officials monitor low levels of radiation found in North Carolina, believed to be linked to the March 11 Japanese nuclear incident.

The Radiation Protection Section in the N.C. Division of Environmental Health has been notified of increased, albeit low, levels of the radioisotopes by both Duke Energy and Progress Energy. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Dee Freeman emphasized that there is no danger to public health or safety.


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