Dan Mackey, MD

Dr. Mackey graduated from UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine.  He is a board certified pediatrician as well as board certified in hospice and palliative medicine along with critical care.  He enjoys providing critical and routine care to all ages.

Dr. Mackey worked in a local emergency department until 2002 when he started his Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. After his critical care fellowship he practiced as a pediatric intensivist for 6 years before deciding to move back to WNC to practice palliative medicine.  Dr. Mackey completed Harvard’s 8 month intensive Program for Palliative Care Education and Practice, and in 2012 became part of the 5th class boarded in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. In 2013 he also became a Board Certified Hospice Medical Director, and from 2013 to 2017, served as Medical Director for Palliative Care and Hospice for Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, NC.

In mid-2018, he took his cumulative knowledge, training, and experience and started Skyland Palliative Medicine, P.A. with the goal of serving patient and families facing serious illness in Sylva and the surrounding WNC communities. Our slogan is “Quality Medicine. Quality of Life.”

Dr. Mackey feels lucky to be practicing the medicine he loves in the community that he loves. 

"I am keenly aware that none of this would be possible without the support from many, including: Dr. Roy Gallinger, Debbie Farmer and the entire staff at Sylva Family Practice, the administration and Medical Staff at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva; Mistie Cooley & the leadership and staff at Skyland Care Center; Dr. Charlie Vargas; Ellie Franklin, RN; Without them, and (most of all) support from my (patient) wife and (awesome) kids, this practice and opportunity to serve my community would not be possible. Gratitude!" Dr. Mackey

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Medicine is a specialty that focuses on Quality of Life for patients and families facing serious illness.


Skyland Palliative Medicine P.A. is a member of CAPC (Center for Advancement of Palliative Care).

CAPC explains the following:

  • Palliative care is the medical specialty focused on improving quality of life for people facing serious illness.

  • Palliative care provides relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness.

  • The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family.

  • Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided together with curative treatment.

  • According to a 2010 study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, lung cancer patients receiving early palliative care had less depression, improved quality of life and survived 2.7 months longer.

  • [Adult] Illnesses most commonly treated by palliative care are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

How We Help

In addition, Dr. Mackey has varied experiences working with Pediatric and Adult patients’ medical teams and families dealing with these and several other less common medical conditions:

  • Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

  • Rett Syndrome

  • Mitochonrial disease

  • Fabry’s Disease

  • Gauche’s Disease

  • SMA I & II

  • ALS

  • Atypical Parkinsons Disease

  • ALL
  • Trisomy 18

  • Tay Sach’s

  • Pulmonary Hypertension

  • Lewy Body Dementia

  • Holoprosencephally

  • Complex Congenital Heart Disease

  • Juvenile Huntington’s Disease

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Note that Palliative Medicine will not take over your care, but can assist with symptom management, coordination of care with your primary and sub-specialist providers, as one part of your overall medical team. Care is developed and tailored to Patient and Family Goals of Care.

What’s important to you is important to us!

 Is Palliative Care ‘Hospice?’

In a word, “No.” Hospice is specifically designed for end of life care that can last days to many months. However, there are often times when it is appropriate and important to have difficult conversations in the face of serious illness. Palliative Care practitioners are trained to facilitate conversations about advance directives, code status and other topics, which can be medically and emotionally complex. At some point, all of us need to discuss these issues related to illness and mortality, and we believe, they are better addressed early in the course of an illness—it’s always much harder when patients & families have to address tough issues in the setting of an acute illness or health crisis.

Also important: We always ask permission before discussing any of these topics.

PHYSICIAN OFFICES - Please send the referral below for a new patient appointment.  Thank you!

SPM AIM Clinic Referral Form.pdf SPM AIM Clinic Referral Form.pdf
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