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LifePoint Hospitals® and Duke University Health System have expanded their collaborative effort to create safe highly reliable care by entering into a national quality agreement. This collaboration will allow these two leading healthcare organizations to expand upon the work in which they have been engaged for several years to enhance patient safety and continually improve the quality of care across the nation. Through the new national quality affiliation, all LifePoint hospitals will be part of a program designed to focus their improvement efforts and transform their culture of safety.

Lifepoint hospitals in Western North Carolina include Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, Swain County Hospital in Bryson City and Haywood Regional Medical Center in Waynesville.

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Summers spent poolside and sunny vacations during winter can do more than provide relaxation. Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays leaves behind lasting damage on the skin - including wrinkles, leathery or sagging skin and brown spots. In fact, more than 90 percent of these visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun. Though sun damage is cumulative, there are ways to repair, and even reverse the damage.

"Contrary to popular belief, the harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation can be almost immediate," said Skin Cancer Foundation Senior Vice President Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD. "That's why practicing proper sun protection is so critical. You'll help prevent future damage and you may even reverse some of the damage that has already been done."

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As winter begins to set in and temperatures dip below freezing, many residents of Macon County are trying to find ways to keep their homes warm. Whether it be by burning wood or oil, flipping a switch or throwing on some extra blankets—there are many ways to stay ahead of the cold.

With residential heating oil sitting at a state average of $3.37 per gallon some families may feel a crunch on their bank accounts. In the event of that, according to Shaina Adkins, executive director of Macon County Care Network there are avenues to take if one were to find themselves in need of assistance during these winter months.

Currently families can apply for the Emergency Heat Assistance programs (CIP/LIHEAP) at Macon County Department of Social Services (DSS). Aside from that, CareNet is taking referrals from DSS, with limited funds available through the Duke Energy Grant money they have obtained to further aid those that apply for assistance with their disconnect notices at DSS but cannot receive the total amount necessary to avoid disconnection.

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After more than a ten-year absence, midwifery returns to Angel Medical Center. Mission Women’s Care has locations in Franklin, Bryson City and Sylva that will be delivering babies at Angel Medical Center, as well as providing other healthcare services for women of all ages. All three offices are now open. Four practitioners – Dr. Elizabeth England and certified nurse midwives Judith Layton, Anne Karner and Cynthia Noland – have been added to the team of compassionate healthcare providers.

“Midwifery care focuses on birth as a normal, healthy process. Midwifery care reduces interventions women experience during prenatal care and the labor process thus decreasing cesarean section rates,” said Judith A. Layton, CNM, MSN. Midwifery is much more than just delivering babies.

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