Occupational medicine expands at Novant Health

Service now housed in main hospital
Feb. 04, 2014 @ 09:07 AM

As a woman wearing an eye bandage exited from occupational medicine services at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, two people in the reception area were quickly escorted back to examination rooms.

“How soon can I get four knee X-rays?” inquired a woman wearing scrubs.

“Right now,” answered Teresa Gibson, coordinator of occupational medicine.

The scenario paints exactly what hospital officials want — services that are accessible and convenient.

“Teresa Gibson started our occupational health program from scratch,” said Jane Murphy, marketing and public relations director at Novant Health TMC.

The program has twice outgrown its facilities since starting about a year ago. Occupational medicine is now offered in the main hospital at 207 Old Lexington Road.

Walk-in services available at the new location, which opened Jan. 27, include prompt treatment of job-related injuries, accidents, exposures and illnesses in addition to physicals and laboratory testing.

“It’s always been a challenge to combine occupational medicine with any other branch of medicine,” said Physician Assistant Phyllis Clabough.

With more than 20 years in occupational medicine, Clabough is qualified to explain why it is best to separate occupational medicine from other types of medical services.

“There are very specific protocols that have to be followed. It involves a lot of testing,” she said.

During its first week in the new location, medical providers treated a myriad of patients who needed everything from physicals to treatment for injuries.

The program is outfitted with its own fully equipped lab. Diagnostic and treatment services available on-site include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and EKGs, drug and alcohol screening, trauma treatment rooms, evaluation and treatment for blood-borne pathogens, physical therapy, DOT physicals, return-to-work exams and influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines.

Fit-for-duty exams, including strength testing and audiology screening, are done nearby in the physical therapy department.

“It’s always better if you have an appointment, but we realize that with injuries, you can’t schedule that,” said Gibson. “We tell them, just send them on in.”

According to Murphy, five new companies came on board during the first week of operations at the new location.

City of Thomasville officials are happy that services are available locally.

According to city of Thomasville Human Resources Director Martha Hancock, the city was previously using a provider that was on the other side of High Point.

“It was just a Godsend when they announced that this was opening,” she said.

“They now offer all workmen's comp and drug screening, any of the occupational health services such as pre-employment health checkups. It's just been wonderful to have those services available nearby.”

Hancock said she can depend on Clabough and Gibson to provide appropriate paperwork needed for workman’s comp and drug screening.

“It’s like a personal touch, which nowadays we lose so much. I just can’t say enough good things about them.”

Murphy said the occupational medicine services fit right in with Novant Health’s mission.

“We want to provide services that are easily accessible and convenient,” she said. “The new location actually enhances our ability to do that.”

Patients should enter at the main entrance and proceed to the information desk. From there, the patient will be escorted to the occupational medicine clinic.

Clinic hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After-hours and those with life-threatening injuries should enter through the Emergency Department.

Novant Health PrimeCare Express Thomasville will continue to be open for urgent and episodic care to the general public at 211 Old Lexington Road.

For more information, call 474-8199.