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Features Health & Wellness

County health departments define role

April marks the time when health departments across the state celebrate Public Health Month by disseminating information about the role of Public Health in their communities.

“Many of the activities the health department does on a daily basis often go unnoticed. Most people don’t realize that Public Health infuses itself into many aspects of our day-to-day life by way of our State’s General Statutes,” said Macon County Health Director Jim Bruckner.



Harris Regional Hospital’s outpatient lab, the lab at Urgent Care Sylva, and the lab at Center for Family Medicine in Franklin received outstanding scores upon a recent Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA) inspection.

COLA is a leading accreditor of laboratory facilities, including hospital inpatient labs, physician office labs, and outpatient facility labs. The organization was founded to help laboratories ensure compliance with the guidelines of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), an agency of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which defines laboratory standards and regulates all laboratory testing. COLA standards are also recognized by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the leading accreditor of hospitals nationwide, and COLA is also sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.


Dr. Dan Mackey, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently joined the WestCare family as the medical director of LifePath Palliative Care and Hospice.

Dr. Mackey brings to WestCare a wealth of experience in adult and pediatric palliative and hospice medicine, having received extensive training in both areas of practice, including completing Harvard Medical School’s Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice and a program in pediatric pain management.

Mackey obtained his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1996. After completing a residency at Baystate Medical Center in combined internal medicine/pediatrics, he became an emergency physician for Mercy Hospital in Massachusetts, where he also worked in the pediatric medicine department. Mackey also completed a three year fellowship in pediatric critical care at University of Virginia Health System, where he later taught pediatric intensive care for two years as an assistant professor.


Angel Medical Center has a new GE Optima 660 to provide the most advanced scans for its radiology patients. The GE Optima 660 is the same type of scanner that was used in the Olympic Village, at the 2014 Olympics in Russia.

Lori Smith, director of the Radiology Department, emphasizes that this new scanner is providing differences in dosage reduction and an increase in the amount of slices that can be taken and viewed. Compared to the older version, which could only take 16 slices at a time, the new version takes up to 64 slices. This new technology is providing faster results with better patient comfort at the forefront of the scanning time. The scanner also has an instructional video screen to help the patient understand what to do and provides relaxing videos during the scanning.


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