Polk Democratic Party website adds information on area healthcare

Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Polk County Democrats, in conjunction with the current focus on healthcare reform, have added a section to their website. The new section provides information about the healthcare resources available in Polk County.

To access this information, go to www.polkdemocrats.com and choose &uot;Polk County Health Resources&uot; at the bottom of the left column.

The quantity and quality of health services in this relatively small county (20,000 people), local Democrats say, reflect the creativity, expertise and commitment of the area&39;s health professionals, volunteers, and local, state and national governments. More options are available than are found in many larger areas.

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Below is a summary of some of the information provided on the website.

St. Luke&39;s Hospital

St. Luke&39;s Hospital offers specialized medical and surgical services usually associated with much larger hospitals. St. Luke&39;s has general, orthopaedic, ophthalmic, dental, urological, gynecologic, GI diagnostics, infusion treatments, anesthesia and post-anesthesia care on an in-patient and out-patient basis. It also has a six-bed intensive care unit, a 10-bed medical surgical unit, a center for behavioral medicine, a geriatric-psychiatry unit, a radiology department and wound care and rehabilitation centers. It offers state-of-the-art care for those needing hip and knee replacement and cataract surgery. &bsp;

Polk County Community

Wellness Center

Polk County Community Wellness Center has walk-in primary care as well as care for those in crisis because of substance abuse and those needing support for depression and anxiety. Anyone needing a primary care physician may use the Wellness Center. What is different about the Wellness Center is that it also offers low-cost medical and mental health care for those in financial need.

County residents are strongly encouraged to use the Wellness Center (801 W. Mills St., Columbus) or their family doctor for primary care instead of St. Luke&39;s emergency room. The Wellness Center is funded to care for those with non-life-threatening illnesses; the emergency room is not.

Veterans care

Veterans can receive medical and mental health care at the Polk County Wellness Center.

Polk County also has a veterans service officer. Call Darrel J. Moore at 859-5121 if you are a veteran in need of medical assistance.

Outreach/Collins Dental


The Collins Dental Center at Thermal Belt Outreach treats all children &uot;from first tooth through age 21&uot; and financially qualified adults needing emergency dental work. Thermal Belt Outreach also has a MedAssist program for those needing assistance paying for prescriptions.


The Polk County Department of Social Services (DSS) is the place to go for those who are needing Medicaid, food stamps and emergency assistance paying unexpected bills. Child day care is offered through DSS to families who meet income guidelines.

Therapy groups

A number of therapy groups meet regularly in the county. Some are for addiction recovery, others for bereavement, depression, anger, or recovery from sexual abuse.

Pavillon International is a non-profit residential center in Sunny View for the treatment of alcoholism and other drug addictions.

Classes that promote personal growth and healthy living are offered at The Wellness Center, ICC, Adawehi, at the county&39;s senior centers, at several churches, and through the Polk County Recreation Department and Department of Public Health.

Safe Surrender

Polk County follows the Safe Surrender law that allows overwhelmed parents to give up their newborn (under seven days old) confidentially, without being arrested or put on trial for abandonment. Older children can be given up for adoption through the Department of Social Services. A list of places for safe surrender in Polk County is on the Health Services website.

Steps to HOPE

Steps to HOPE offers shelter and support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence and sexual abuse.&bsp; Steps to HOPE has a 24-hour hotline (894-2340 or toll free at 1-888-968-4283), an emergency safe shelter, medical and legal referrals and counseling.

The group also offers community programs to help bring an end to this type of abuse. A male anger management group meets Wednesdays at 6:30 at Steps to HOPE. Additional programs include child advocacy, parenting education, a domestic abuse intervention program, and youth and teen support groups.


CooperRiis is a residency program in Mill Spring for people who are needing mental health support, and outpatient support for those who have graduated from their program.

Department of Public Health

Polk&39;s Department of Public Health has teamed up with Rutherford and McDowell counties to offer a rich selection of services, including immunizations and pregnancy testing, disease prevention and health education, dental screening and referrals, communicable disease control, maternal health, child care classes, maternity care, and a postpartum home visiting nurse.

Emergency responders

Polk County&39;s EMS can be reached by dialing 911. Polk County First Responders and Polk County Rescue Squad are all-volunteer emergency responders that assist the ambulance when needed.

&bsp;At this time, 65 dedicated volunteers work in these two volunteer organizations throughout the county. EMT certification is required of the volunteers, and these certification classes are held at ICC/Polk.

Another form of emergency response is Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, which provides medical air transportation.

Red Cross

In addition to coordinating blood drives throughout the county, the American Red Cross is here, as it is all over the United States, to help residents in case of disaster.

Polk County Emergency Response Team

The Polk County Emergency Response Team (CERT) educates volunteer citizens to assist in time of disaster. Contact information is on the health services website for those who would like to volunteer.


A list of hotlines, including Carolinas Poison Center, suicide prevention, domestic violence and rape crisis and others, is included on the website.

Hospice care

For those at the end of life, Hospice of the Carolina Foothills in Columbus and the new Smith Phayer Hospice House in Landrum offer gentle care and bereavement support to those choosing hospice care.

Senior living options

The area offers many assisted living, nursing home, home health and long term care choices, as well as a long term care ombudsman to help negotiate the complexities of these choices.

Animal-assisted therapy

Two animal assisted therapy groups are in the county.

Pet Pals is a pet therapy organization that brings dog owners and their dogs together with patients in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. Tryon Daily Bulletin readers know the Pet Pals spokesdog, Champ.

The other animal assisted therapy is FENCE&39;s Therapeutic Riding of Tryon (TROT). TROT teaches horsemanship skills in a safe environment to adults and children with physical and developmental difficulties.

The web page describing these services, with contact information, can be found at www.polkdemocrats.com. Choose &uot;Polk County&39;s Health Resources&uot; at the bottom of the left column.

While you are there, check out &uot;Environmental Resources in Polk County,&uot; another set of resources available to area residents.

You can receive automatic updates of these web pages through RSS feeds. Choose the orange button next to &uot;Syndicate&uot; at the bottom of the left column on the website.