Mental health falters during pandemic

Briefly, it seemed like the coronavirus pandemic had turned a corner. “People were starting to feel a little bit optimistic this summer,” says Ariel Shumaker, an Asheville therapist in private practice, about COVID-19. “And now, it’s not feeling optimistic.” Fatigue, sadness, anxiety, rage, fear, exhaustion — these are the emotions area behavioral health professionals report […]

Wellness in brief: Lawsuit alleges Mission Health monopoly

Lawsuit alleges Mission Health monopoly Six residents of Western North Carolina filed a class-action lawsuit against HCA Healthcare and Mission Health System on Aug. 10, alleging restraint of trade and unlawful monopolization. The plaintiffs say they have paid higher health insurance premiums, copays and deductibles than have residents of surrounding areas due to Mission’s ability […]

How the polyamorou­s live in Asheville

Western North Carolina prides itself on its “live and let live” ethos. From the moonshiners of yore to back-to-the-land homesteaders to the sprawling artistic community, many  people feel they can make their living differently here. That independent streak often runs through people’s personal lives, too. For that reason, some consider Asheville to be an accepting […]

Blue face masks

Buncombe reinstates COVID emergency, indoor mask mandate

The requirement covers all “business establishments, offices and workplaces, public transportation facilities and vehicles, and any indoor place the public is invited or allowed to enter and gather,” with the exception of weddings, funerals, religious gatherings and “other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Blue Cross NC expands transgende­r health care coverage

Facial feminization surgery and voice lessons for transgender people are now covered by the largest health insurance provider in the state. On July 1, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina updated its policy to recognize these gender-affirming health care procedures as medically necessary. The national nonprofit Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund led […]

Wellness in brief: COVID-19 updates for WNC

MAHEC sees uptick in antibody infusion treatments The Asheville-based Mountain Area Health Education Center has experienced an increase in patients receiving antibody infusion treatments — the antibody cocktail called REGEN-COV — in recent weeks. During the week of July 19, the center’s infusion team served 21 people, says Keelan Dorn, a family medicine nurse practitioner […]

Where credit is due

Western North Carolina residents who want to change the health insurance they receive through the Affordable Care Act, or who want to sign up for a plan through the health insurance marketplace, can do so during a special enrollment period ending Sunday, Aug. 15. And local nonprofits urge people to explore their options for potentially […]

Filling the gaps

It’s a rainy Thursday in West Asheville when the word “overdose” crackles over the radio dispatch. Jamie Judd, emergency medical services division manager for Buncombe County Emergency Services, immediately turns on his siren and increases speed. The late afternoon traffic on Patton Avenue is clogged; vehicles aren’t pulling to the side to let this emergency […]

Lauren Pierce Flickinger

Wellness roundup: Local domestic, sexual violence nonprofits lose funding; Dogwood invests $25M into Pisgah Fund

State funding for local domestic, sexual violence nonprofits to end Sept. 30 The N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission informed four WNC nonprofits on June 16 of the discontinuance of nearly $2.3 million in grant funding previously available through the Victims of Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. Existing VOCA and VAWA grants are scheduled […]

Healthy pride

Western North Carolina is a health-conscious place, but one that hasn’t always been welcoming for the LGBTQ community. And without health and wellness opportunities that provide care, while also affirming sexuality and gender identity, some LGBTQ folks may not share essential information with their providers or avoid health care settings entirely. Numerous local organizations and […]