officebuilding1 1Watauga Surgical Group will join Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) on January 1, 2017. The practice, which is located less than a mile from Watauga Medical Center, will become a member of Appalachian Regional Medical Associates (ARMA), the healthcare system's medical practice management corporation.

Established in 1970, Watauga Surgical Group specializes in general, vascular, cancer and thoracic surgery. The practice consists of Paul Dagher, MD, Tim Edmisten, MD, Anne-Corinne Beaver, MD, Lionel van der Westhuizen, MD, Emily Moore, PA, John Shoaf, PA, and Matthew Lutz, PA.

“We are very pleased to welcome Watauga Surgical Group into the Appalachian Regional Medical Associates (ARMA) family,” said Robert Johnston, Vice President of Ambulatory Services and Clinical Integration. “Our goal in ARMA is to integrate our collective services in order to provide the best care possible for our patients.”

Dr. Paul Dagher said of the transition, “we decided to join ARMA so that the surgeons can focus on patient care and have ARMA run operations of the practice.  By joining ARMA the providers get to devote more time to patient care and to potentially expand clinical services in the future at Watauga Surgical Group to better serve our community.”

As part of the transition, Watauga Surgical Group will switch over to the healthcare system’s centralized electronic medical record. For patients, this means that their medical records will transition seamlessly between ARMA offices and the hospital, improving the continuity of care for all patients.

The Boone office location, 965 State Farm Road, as well as the phone number 828-264-2340 will remain the same.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital (CMH). For staff and patients, the holiday season officially begins after Kyle Lee and his Plant Operations team find, cut, transport and decorate the annual Christmas tree in the hospital lobby.

It takes Lee’s team of six a full day to set up and decorate the tree. But to him, it’s not simply part of his job – it’s so much more. Many people look forward to this joyous occasion, but few are aware of the man or the motive behind the tree.

Soles of faith

Kyle Lee and the Christmas Tree

At first glance, Lee can come across as a bit disheveled. His long graying hair is held in place by a well-worn baseball cap. His eyes are seasoned from a stint in the Navy and his hands are calloused from years spent caring for the boiler and electrical issues around the hospital. His untucked shirt is often covered in saw dust and his cargo pant legs are purposefully tucked into his muddied cowboy boots. His nondescript office is well-hidden in the basement of the hospital, where only a photo of his wife and a heavily highlighted Bible reside.  

Lee was born in Hawaii as a military kid, but he spent most summers at his grandparents’ farm in West Virginia. It was there that he learned how to build fences, care for cattle, harvest sugarcane and can vegetables. Lee grew up in a church pew, but after high school and his time in the Navy he developed a questioning spirit which led him to search for answers in drugs, alcohol and wild living. For years, he purposefully lost all contact with his mother, who worked at the Pentagon and his father, who worked in counterintelligence for the Marine Corps.

“From time to time, my mom would try to get her wayward son to come home again,” said Lee. “I knew what I was doing wasn’t right, I just didn’t want it rubbed in my face. But it needed to be.”

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During the years that followed Lee married and divorced twice. His search for answers finally came to a head one day when he realized that on his own there was simply no hope. But, in faith there is hope, grace and forgiveness. Shortly thereafter, Lee reconnected with his parents and he met and married his wife Shannon of 17 years. Together, they have hope and a desire to share that hope with others.

More than a tree

Lee and his team started putting the annual Christmas tree up in the lobby at CMH in 2000. At first, the towering 25-foot-tall tree with more than 22,000 lights simply served as an ornament to provide holiday cheer. Then, Lee had an idea to give each tree a subtle faith-based theme.

“After doing this for 16 years, I’ve realized that the tree is just like everything else in life. If you don’t truly open your eyes, all you see is lights and garland hanging there,” said Lee. “I know what it’s like to be blind to the truth, so I hope people don’t see me in this story, or even the tree for that matter, but rather a reason to seek hope for themselves.”

When asked what this year’s tree theme would be Lee simply smiled and said, “Promises.”

To view the Christmas tree visit Cannon Memorial Hospital’s main lobby between December 8 and January 1. 


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The 2017-18 flu season began October 1 and runs through May, and acccording to The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina has already seen its first two deaths as a result of flu. As a visitor to our facilities, you play an important part in preserving the health and safety of patients.

The following precautions can protect our patients, as well as visitors, from the spread of infection. 


Clean your hands before and after visiting

Scientists of America showed in their persuasive essay outline that cleaning hands and doing well with hygiene can positively influence on the health

The soap, water and hand sanitizer in the patient rooms are for everyone. Wash or sanitize your hands when entering and leaving the room of the person you are visiting to avoid bringing in and carrying out germs. Insist any healthcare provider do the same before caring for your loved one. Do not sit on patient beds or handle their equipment.


Check with nurses before you bring in food, send flowers or bring children

While flowers, young visitors and home-baked dishes spread cheer, they may not be allowed, so check with the nurse first. Cut flowers but not potted plants may be allowed in intensive care units. If you change the water in a vase of flowers, make sure to wash your hands afterwards. No children under the age of 12 can visit in the Intensive Care Unit. Children elsewhere in the hospital should not disturb the other patients. Bringing food is risky because the patient may be on a special diet or the food could spoil and make the patient sick. Half eaten food cannot be returned to the refrigerator and must be discarded.


Practice Cough Etiquette

Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue. Discard tissue in the trash immediately after use. Wash your hands or use an alcohol hand sanitizer.


Isolation Precautions: Read & follow any instructions posted outside the door

  • Contact Precautions: you must wear gloves and a gown when entering the room.
  • Droplet or Airborne Precautions: you must wear a mask when entering the room.

If the patient you visit has a sign on the door you are required to obey it. Please talk to the nurses if you need assistance. Although you may have been around this person or live with this person, we must protect the other hospital patients and visitors. You can ask the nurse for any educational materials that may be available.


Stay at home if you are sick

Do not visit the hospital if you are sick or have had any ill symptoms within the last three days including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, rash or uncontrolled cough.

Our Boone office is moving

Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, also known as AppOrtho, will move from its current location on State Farm Road to 194 Doctors Drive in Boone, NC, on December 11, 2017.

“The decision to move the practice was made to improve access for our patients,” said Robert Johnston, Vice President of Ambulatory Services and Clinical Integration at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS). “The new space gives us the room we need to meet the demands of the local community.”

More providers, more choices

Strategically located in the heart of the Boone Wellness District and across the street from the hospital, AppOrtho consists of four orthopaedic surgeons, one family & sports medicine physician and three physician assistants who bring new expertise and advanced treatment technologies to the High Country. The “home team” providers specialize in arthroscopic orthopaedic surgery, spine surgery, advanced knee and shoulder surgery, total joint replacements (hip, knee, and shoulder) and hand surgery, as well as many minimally invasive techniques.

Since 2013, AppOrtho has proudly served as the official sports medicine provider for Appalachian State athletics. In addition to providing sports medicine coverage for App State athletics, AppOrtho offers same-day appointments and is the only orthopedic practice in the High Country that performs surgeries at Watauga Medical Center.

“Our goal is to provide the best patient care and the best patient experience in a healing environment close to home,” Johnston continued. “AppOrtho works closely with Watauga Medical Center, The Rehabilitation Center, Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, and The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge to make it easier for patients to get the care they need, right here in our community.”

AppOrtho in Jefferson, the heart of Ashe County

AppOrtho will expand its services by opening an office in Jefferson next to Ashe Memorial Hospital. The new office, set to open on December 11, will offer general orthopaedic care and same-day appointments to increase access for patients.

To schedule an appointment at either AppOrtho location, call 828-386-2663. To learn more about AppOrtho visit

licensure logo fall 2017 green print jpg1The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care ratings organization, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. The Safety Grade assigns letter grades of A, B, C, D and F to hospitals nationwide based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms. Watauga Medical Center was one of 832 awarded an “A” for its commitment to keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S.