Charles George VA leads virtual reality use for veterans

Caitlin Rawlins, innovation specialist for the Western North Carolina Veteran Affairs Health Care System, remembers vividly the first time that a patient at the Charles George Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center long-term care facility used virtual reality. “She had cognitive impairment, a history of needing stays on our inpatient psychiatric ward because of agitation […]

Buncombe COVID-19 case graph

Buncombe continues mask mandate amid record COVID spread

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners members unanimously voted Jan. 4 to extend the county’s indoor mask mandate through Wednesday, Feb. 16. The extended mask requirement does not contain any language regarding enforcement, nor does it specify the type of face covering that residents should wear, despite health experts saying cloth masks are insufficient against the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Wellness in brief: Hospitals suspend COVID-19 vaccinatio­n requiremen­ts

Hospitals suspend COVID-19 vaccination requirements Earlier this month, AdventHealth Hendersonville, Pardee UNC Health Care and Mission Health suspended requirements that employees become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as per a federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services memorandum. CMS had issued an emergency regulation on Nov. 4 mandating that all eligible workers at Medicaid and Medicare-certified […]

Warren Wilson professor’­s new book explores eco-conscious death

As a professor of environmental education at Warren Wilson College, Mallory McDuff is experienced in teaching the next generation about environmentalism. “Climate is front and center for them,” she says. With the Dec. 7 publication of her book Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places […]

Lori Garcia-McCammon

Local nonprofit workers discuss pandemic burnout

As the executive director of True Ridge, a Hendersonville-based nonprofit serving Western North Carolina’s Hispanic population, Lori Garcia-McCammon has never had an easy job. Her organization helps survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and refers clients to bilingual mental health counselors. Recent years have been straining, as many of the Central American immigrants her […]

Wellness in brief: HCA hosting opioid takeback events on Oct. 23

Members of the public can anonymously dispose of unused or expired opioid medications at HCA Healthcare’s Crush the Crisis events at various locations. Local law enforcement agencies are partnering with HCA Healthcare for the takeback event on Saturday, Oct. 23. The drop-off locations are Mission Hospital in Asheville, 1 Hospital Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Mission […]

Blue Ridge landscape

From NC Health News: Six Republican counties in WNC pledged their support for Medicaid expansion. What’s changed?

For months, the CEO of the Cherokee Indian Hospital has quietly traveled to county commission boards throughout the western part of the state, giving presentations on the benefits of Medicaid expansion. As local leaders throughout the conservative region show support for the policy, will they change the minds of state Republicans?

Classical Scholars classroom

Some local schools reject COVID advice from health officials

Xpress has identified at least seven local K-12 institutions that are not requiring all students to wear masks as recommended by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services StrongSchoolsNC toolkit and county public health leaders. Some have rejected other coronavirus measures as well, including isolating individuals with COVID-19 and recommending vaccinations.

Carol Stefaniak

Wellness in brief: Pardee expands monoclonal antibody infusion clinic

From February through early August, the Emergency Department at Pardee administered 400 infusions of the Regeneron antibody therapy, says chief nursing officer Carol Stefaniak. But following the infusion clinic’s relocation to an outpatient facility in Hendersonville Aug. 11, another 350 infusions were administered, reflecting high demand for the drug.