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Features Health & Wellness

The 2014 County Health Rankings were released last week and saw Macon County fall in position for the third straight year to 19th healthiest county in North Carolina. In years past, Macon has been 13th and 16th out of 100 counties.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The two entities rank almost every county in the country. The purpose of the County Health Rankings Index is to help communities create solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their communities, focusing on specific factors that they believe affect health, such as education and income, whether a person has health insurance and the quality of health care they receive.

Some of the factors that the rankings consider are the rates of death before the age of 75, air and water quality, high school graduation rates, and unemployment among other benchmarks. Officials boast that the quality of the measures produced to illustrate a county's overall health based on these factors are a sufficient tool for influencing governmental agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, policy-makers, and the public in their overall concern for health improvements.

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Mission Hospital was recently named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health AnalyticsTM, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care.

The Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals study identifies hospitals and leadership teams that provide the highest level of value to their communities, based on a national balanced scorecard. The 100 Top Hospitals balanced scorecard measures hospital performance across 10 areas: mortality; inpatient complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; and post-discharge mortality and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, and pneumonia. The study has been conducted annually since 1993. This is the sixth time that Mission Hospital has been recognized.

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The Judy Moore Memorial Scholarship Endowment Committee is accepting scholarship applications for the 2014 year. The endowment is an affiliate of the N.C. Community Foundation.

This scholarship program for nurses was established in 1997 as a memorial to Judy Moore, RN who was killed in a tragic accident in 1996. A resident of Macon County, Moore was an inspiration to both nurses and patients in her role as a Community Health Nurse III and as an OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner. Since the first award in August 1998, the scholarship has been given to 28 individuals (some have been awarded funding more than one year) and almost $29,000 has been issued.

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Cardiologists with Asheville Cardiology Associates, an affiliate of Mission Health, are leading the way in the number of cases performed in a national clinical trial of a novel netcovered stent used in patents who have just experienced an ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), better known as a heart attack. More than half of the U.S. total cases performed in the trial thus far have taken place at Mission Hospital.

The first U.S. stent implantation of the trial was performed at Mission Hospital on Dec. 6, 2013. To date, eight surgeries implanting the device, the MGuardTM Prime Embolic Protection Stent (EPS) with MicroNetTM covering, have taken place at Mission. The devices are manufactured by InspireMD, which has U.S. operations headquartered in Boston, Mass.

Stents such as this one are small metal mesh devices that are placed within an artery to open a blocked section so that blood flow throughout the cardiovascular system can continue unimpeded. The FDA trial, known as MASTER II (MGuard for Acute ST Elevation Reperfusion), is the second in a series of randomized clinical studies intended to validate that the device is safe and effective, and can then be approved by the FDA for widespread use in patients in the United States.

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