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Features Health & Wellness

At a recent meeting of the Macon County Health Board, Health Department Director Jim Bruckner told the board that he was recently contacted by a 90-year-old man who was told that he would have to wait several months before getting an appointment to see a primary care physician in Macon County. According to Bruckner, with too few doctors in Macon County, those types of calls are daily at the health department.

In attempt to alleviate some of that problem, the Macon County Health Department is moving to phase in a program that would provide a temporary primary physician structure.

“Part of our function as public health is assurance,” said Bruckner. “We have to assure that the service is provided to the community, provide the service ourselves, or contract for the service to be provided. That is under the law.”


There are 100 days of summer and the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to choose their day to give blood and help ensure a sufficient blood supply.

Summer is a difficult time to collect enough blood to meet patient needs. Nearly 90 percent of donors surveyed this past spring said they planned to take a vacation this summer, potentially making them less available to give. In addition, many schools that host blood drives are out of session during the summer. But the need for blood donations is constant. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Donors of all blood types – especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative – are needed. The Red Cross must collect 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.


As of Tuesday, eight children across the country have died from heat strokes from being left unattended in a vehicle, three of which occurred on Monday and Tuesday alone.

Since 1998, 645 children who had been left in a vehicle across the country, died of heat stroke, 24 of which occurred in North Carolina. North Carolina has the 5th highest child heat stroke vehicle death rate, after Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. On average, 37 children die each year.

“Just don’t do it,” said Franklin Police Chief David Adams of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. “There should never be a circumstance when a child is left alone in a car. Never do it. It is never ok.”


Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, a public managed healthcare organization, has hired a new director to help promote integrated, “whole body” care in Western North Carolina.

Peter Rives, who has 15 years of experience working with organizations that provide or manage care for people with mental illness, substance use and intellectual or developmental disabilities, joined Smoky’s staff in May as Integrated Care Director.

Integrated care means healthcare providers work together as a team to treat both physical illnesses and psychiatric concerns, including mental illness, alcohol or drug use or a developmental disability. Studies have shown that integrated care can improve people’s health, the quality of healthcare services and patient satisfaction while lowering costs.


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