June 25, 2018

Carol Wolfenbarger: We Are Dedicated to Cardiovascular Health

By Carol Wolfenbarger
President, Mission Hospital McDowell

As we move toward summer, I want to talk about cardiovascular health. So many in our community are at risk for, or live with, the after effects of heart attack and stroke. As a community hospital, our goal is to always be ready when you need us most – that’s why we’re pursuing accreditation as an acute, stroke-ready hospital. As we pursue this additional accreditation, we are pleased that the American Heart Association awarded Mission Hospital McDowell with its Silver Plus Quality Achievement and its Target: Honor Roll recognitions for stroke care, just last month. This is a key milestone as we pursue this accreditation, and I congratulate everyone on our care team.

MHM providers diagnose and treat patients, connect to neurology specialists in Asheville at any time through telehealth services, and send patients to Mission Hospital for specialized care if necessary. Robin Jones, Mission Health’s Stroke Program Coordinator, also educates the community regularly with radio programs on cardiovascular health, and promotes offerings like the annual Retreat and Refresh stroke camp for survivors and their caregivers.

Time is the most important factor in stopping a stroke’s damage. To recognize symptoms of stroke, think BE FAST:

Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?

Eyes: Is there sudden blurred or double vision or sudden, persistent vision trouble?

Face – is one or both sides of the face drooping?

Arm – can the person lift both arms? Is there weakness or numbness?

Speech – is it slurred? Can a simple phrase be repeated?

Time – time to call 911 if answer is “yes” to any of these questions.

As part of our dedication to cardiovascular health, I’m happy to welcome a new Asheville Cardiology Associates physician who opened his practice on April 30th at Mission Health Center – McDowell. Dr. Bryan Pace, DO, FACC comes to us from Ohio after performing his Internal Medicine Residency at The Cleveland Clinic and completed his Cardiology Fellowship through Michigan State University. He’ll offer patients general cardiac care, echocardiography, and nuclear stress testing in his new office in the Medical Office Building in the new facility, 472 Rankin Drive. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Pace, call 828-652-0005.

When visiting our facility, please know that construction is ongoing as our campus continues to transform. I’m grateful to our community members for your resilience in the face of shifting traffic flow patterns. Thankfully, demolition is almost complete and grading for Phase 1 of our new, flat parking adjacent to the hospital should be complete by early August! When Phase 1 is finished, you’ll be pleased by the very easy access to hospital entrances 1 (ED Ambulatory) and 2 (Main Entrance).

Phase 2 parking construction will start with Entrance 3’s closing as grading, canopy installation, and paving are completed there. Terrace level Entrance 4 to My Care Now remains unaffected by the construction. Amidst dump trucks and all-terrain vehicles doing their important jobs on our campus, know that we’re invested in moving EMS services and our shuttle buses quickly and efficiently, with the help of flagmen posted at strategic locations. We also continue to have volunteers and staff members available to assist you 24-7, at Entrance 3.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer – and be sure to remember the acronym BE FAST!


Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, is President of Mission Hospital McDowell. She holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in nursing administration from the University of Tennessee, is board certified in Healthcare Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Carol, who has served hospitals and health systems for more than three decades, has worked to add full-time cardiology services, led growth in outpatient services including imaging and surgery, and the expansion of primary care offering in Burke County since assuming her role as President at McDowell Hospital in 2015. She is an active member in Rotary and serves as a Board member for the Rutherford/Polk/McDowell Health District Board of Directors, the Corpening YMCA Board of Directors, and the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

To learn more about Mission Hospital McDowell, visit missionhealth.org/mcdowell.