Health care centers provide options for residents

By Julie Fann
star staff

From Sycamore Shoals Hospital to the Carter County Health Department, Elizabethton residents have a variety of health care options available to them. During 2002, most of these facilities have seen changes.
   Sycamore Shoals has added a new breast care center for women, as well as diagnostic services. Also, the hospital has continued to refine improvements to the Emergency Department, which has been expanded to accommodate more patients.
   The Carter County Health Department offers a variety of services and also witnessed the accomplishment of a number of important goals.
   For example, the region as a whole has had the highest percentage of children immunized in the state, according to 2001 records. The department provides child and adolescent health screenings. Information, diagnosis and treatment for HIV is also available. The health department nutrition staff also provides assessment, counseling and dietary supplements to HIV patients.
   Dental services and general environmental health counseling for businesses through the health department are also available. The environmental health program handles consumer complaints, rabies exposure investigations and food borne illness investigations.
   The Tennessee Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers breast exams, pap smears and mammography services to eligible women who are low-income, uninsured or underinsured.
   In Carter County, approximately $876,000 was redeemed in WIC food vouchers in Fiscal Year 2002. Sycamore Shoals Hospital also works in conjunction with the health department to provide WIC certification and counseling services.
   Wings Air Rescue is perhaps the health care service in Carter County that provides the most immediate life-saving assistance. Existing in Carter County for the past eight years, Wings Air Rescue covers a 125-mile radius and serves counties in Virginia, West Virginia and Georgia.
   The Wings helicopter serves many of the same needs as a ground ambulance but is able to provide more acute medical care during transport.
   The Charlotte Taylor Center is another health care option in Carter County. Designed to assist those who are suffering emotionally and mentally, the center offers counseling services to those struggling with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, substance abuse problems and other mental disorders.
   The center is named after its founder, Charlotte Taylor, a Carter County educator who saw the need for health care for the mentally ill.
   First Medical, 505 Broad St., has been providing health care to Elizabethton residents for the last seven years. The practice is made up of 10 doctors and nurse practitioners specializing in family and internal medicine, obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics.