Home Local News FirstHealth to Launch Occupational Health Program in Industry-Rich Montgomery

FirstHealth to Launch Occupational Health Program in Industry-Rich Montgomery

Christine McBride, PA-C

TROY – With an industrial community that includes such varied commodities as lumber, footwear, braided rugs and furniture and an employee base that numbers in the thousands, Montgomery County seemed the perfect place for FirstHealth of the Carolinas to pilot its new Occupational Health & Wellness program.

Beth Walker, president of FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital, certainly thinks so. She calls the program a “win-win” for both area businesses and FirstHealth.

“For several years, local employers have asked us to help with their Occupational Health needs,” she says. “Once we finally felt like we had the resources and expertise to put the programming together, it has been so exciting to promote it. Obviously, employers have a need for this service based on the positive responses we have encountered, so we want to provide a quality program for them and for their employees.”

FirstHealth will launch its Occupational Health & Wellness program July 24 in a clinic located at 522 Allen St., Suite 203, in the Medical Arts Building by Montgomery Memorial Hospital. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Services will be provided by a staff that includes Christine McBride, PA-C, a physician assistant with several years of experience with FirstHealth family and primary care clinics.

According to Director of Occupational Health & Wellness Wanda Ward, R.N., a professional with more than 18 years of occupational health experience, the initial approach could change depending on community needs. In an effort to evaluate those needs and to share information on what the FirstHealth program will offer, Ward has visited nearly 30 Montgomery County businesses. 

“We have the resources to make this program work,” she says, “but every community is different and every population is different. It’s a matter of finding out what the needs are.”


High on the list of current services is Worker’s Compensation management. So are pre-placement physicals and drug-testing. Other services to be offered include audiograms, biometric screening, spirometry and respirator fit testing, HazCom physicals, fitness-for-duty evaluations and immunizations. 

The program’s staff will also be available to treat non-life-threatening on-the-job injuries and to make referrals to related FirstHealth services such as tobacco cessation and diabetes education.

As the program’s name implies, wellness will also be an important program component.

“The wellness component is probably one of our most exciting services,” Ward says. “Obviously, employers want to keep their employees healthy and well, which helps increase morale and productivity.”

Members of the Montgomery County business community will have the opportunity to meet the FirstHealth Occupational Health & Wellness team, as well as full-time Montgomery County cardiologist Scott Denardo, M.D., during a “Breakfast Meet and Greet” co-hosted by FirstHealth and Market MontGOmery Chamber & Tourism. The event will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 7 to 9 a.m. in the Lower Lobby of the Medical Arts Building at Montgomery Memorial Hospital.

“We look forward to introducing this very important program in a community that has an apparent need for its services,” says Al O’Connell, chief operating officer of the FirstHealth Physician Group. “Keeping employees healthy and well makes sense to every business owner, and it’s our intention to provide the services that will help them do that.”

For more information on FirstHealth Occupational Health & Wellness, call (910) 571-5170.

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