Understanding Care Options

June 9, 2016

Understanding Care Options

By Tammy Johnston, MD

Now that school is out and summer has unofficially kicked off it’s a good idea to take a moment to understand the healthcare options available in our community should you or your family need care.

From trips to the family doctor, to urgent care centers and walk-in clinics, to emergency room visits – there are more healthcare options to choose from than ever before. And while having more choices is definitely a plus, Swain Community Hospital realizes that it also can be confusing when it comes to selecting the right option at the right time.

Let’s start with the best medicine in terms of prevention. Primary care refers to a person’s regular physician or physician group – it’s where someone might go when sick or in need of preventive care such as an annual physical, vaccination, or wellness check. Typically, people visit primary care doctors for:

  • annual exams and screenings
  • immunizations
  • chronic disease
  • prenatal care
  • earaches
  • colds
  • fevers
  • non-urgent healthcare needs

Swain Family Care at Swain Community Hospital includes Tammy Johnston, MD, David Johnston, MD, Vicki McCormack, PA-C and Brooke Budde, DO, a pediatrician. The practice, with its caring staff, has been providing primary care to the community for decades and recently added pediatrics.

Next, walk-in clinics emphasize convenience for individuals with common, non-life-threatening conditions. Services may include treatment of:

  • minor injuries, like burns and sprains
  • minor infections
  • pink eye
  • sinus and sore throat
  • skin rashes
  • upset stomachs

Swain Family Care offers a pediatric walk-in clinic, which includes vaccinations, for established patients 8 to 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday. For information call 488-4205. The walk-in clinic is offered in addition to regular hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Swain Family Care and Swain Community Hospital are also pleased to partner with the Swain County Health Department on education and preventative care for the community.

Similar to walk-in clinics, urgent care centers offer care for minor injuries or illnesses that need urgent attention. Individuals might choose urgent care facilities for non-life threatening but urgent needs. There are multiple urgent care options available in the area including Harris Regional Hospital Urgent Care Center in the Walmart Plaza in Sylva open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week and Smoky Mountain Urgent Care on Veterans Boulevard in Bryson City open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week and with care provided by Randall Castor, MD and staff. To ensure seamless care for local patients, including imaging and laboratory procedures, the staff and physicians including subspecialists in pulmonology, gastroenterology, orthopaedics and sports medicine, and women’s care at Swain Community Hospital have a longstanding collaborative relationship with the providers of Smoky Mountain Urgent Care.

Emergency rooms are open 24 hours and treat patients experiencing illness or injury any time of day or night. A group of physicians led by Mark Engel, MD and Frank VanMiddlesworth, MD has been serving the community in the emergency department for 15 years. Dr. Van Middlesworth recently opened the Swain County Caring Corner, a non-profit organization providing medical services to the underserved.

Swain Community Hospital’s emergency department ranks in the top 10% in the nation for patient satisfaction according to recent consumer surveys benchmarking patient assessments. The emergency department has 24-hour access to imaging and lab to help physicians diagnose and treat injury and illness and increase efficiency for patients.

To learn more about Swain Community Hospital call 488-2155 or visit www.myswaincommunity.com