Avery Community Paramedicine Program established with $290,000 grant from The Duke Endowment

Avery Community Paramedicine Program established with $290,000 grant from The Duke Endowment

Cannon Memorial Hospital

Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital recently received a three year grant from The Duke Endowment totaling $290,000. These grant funds will allow Cannon Memorial Hospital and Avery Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to establish a Community Paramedicine Program to serve Avery County.

Community Paramedicine is an innovative new healthcare model that seeks to provide underserved patients with improved access to public health and preventative healthcare services. Through the program, specially trained Community Paramedics visit patients in their homes to assess their overall health, living conditions, support structure and other social determinants of health. Avery EMS and Cannon Memorial Hospital will identify potential program participants through primary care referrals and by analyzing the highest utilizers of emergency services. By improving this populations’ health, the program will also reduce unnecessary EMS calls and emergency department visits, freeing up these services for true emergencies.

Cannon Memorial Hospital’s president, Carmen Lacey stated, “We are very excited to work with Avery EMS to bring a community paramedicine program to Avery County, and we appreciate this opportunity given to us by The Duke Endowment.” Mike Edmisten, Avery EMS Director, added: “This will be a very important program for the county. It will not only improve the health status of hundreds of individuals, but it will allow Avery EMS to free up resources to better respond to emergencies.”

“With growing concerns about health care costs and overcrowded emergency departments, community paramedicine is proving to be a promising way to connect vulnerable patients to the support and care that can keep them healthier,” says Lin Hollowell, director of the Endowment’s Health Care program area.

The Duke Endowment

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3.7 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

Avery County Emergency Medical Services

Owned and operated by the county, Avery County Emergency Medical Services began operations on October 1, 1994. We currently operate at the EMT-Paramedic level with twenty four full time employees and approximately twenty part time employees. We are staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with at least two crews and a field supervisor. Monday through Friday, we operate and schedule a day crew from part time employees in addition to three full time crews. The day crew is staffed from 8:30 am – 6:00 pm and responds from the main station in Newland. One twenty-four hour crew is assigned to the Newland base, one is assigned to the Banner Elk base, and one is assigned to the Green Valley Community.

#GivingTuesday: Provide in-home care for mothers and infants

#GivingTuesday: Provide in-home care for mothers and infants

It takes a village to raise a child: Let’s be theirs

Do you remember having questions as a parent of a newborn? Did you wish you could talk to your nurse just one more time? That’s what you will provide when you give to Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation on Giving Tuesday.

We are partnering with other local organizations to bring Family Connects International to Watauga County, providing short-term nurse home visits to ALL families with newborns, voluntarily and free-of-charge.

What will my donation fund?

Your gift will help Watauga Medical Center provide nurses to visit with families of newborns and supplies. 

 

What are the results?

  • Infants have 50% fewer ED visits and hospital overnight stays in the first year of life
  • Mothers are 28% less likely to report possible clinical anxiety
  • Community connections increased by 15%
  • Home environments were rated higher quality and safer by blinded observers

 

What is included in a home visit?

Typical visit includes:

  • Physical exam for mothers and infants
  • Perinatal mood disorder screening
  • Domestic violence screening
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Postpartum care, including scheduling appointments as needed
  • Tobacco cessation referrals
  • Safe sleep and SIDS prevention
  • Parent – child interaction assessment and coaching
  • Assistance with obtaining health insurance coverage, child care, and social services
  • Reinforcement of connection to medical home to reduce unnecessary ED visits

 

Other partners

  • Harmony Center for Women
  • Children’s Council
  • AppHealthCare District Health Department
  • Blue Ridge Pediatrics
  • Stickboy
  • F.A.R.M Café
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield

Provide in-home care for mothers and infants

 

$5,000 will provide 50 nurse visits for mothers of infants. It takes a village to raise a child. Help be a supportive part of our village by donating to the health and wellness of our mothers and infants. 100% of your donation will benefit the Family Connects program. 

What will my donation fund?

Your gift will help Watauga Medical Center provide nurses to visit with families of newborns, as well as supplies.  Do you remember having questions as a parent of a newborn? Did you with you could talk to your nurse just one more time? That’s what you will provide when you give to the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation on Giving Tuesday.

 

What are the results?

  • Infants have 50% fewer ED visits and hospital overnight stays in the first year of life
  • Mothers are 28% less likely to report possible clinical anxiety
  • Community connections increased by 15%
  • Home environments were rated higher quality and safer by blinded observers

 

What is included in a home visit?

Typical visit includes:

  • Physical exam for mothers and infants
  • Perinatal mood disorder screening
  • Domestic violence screening
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Postpartum care, including scheduling appointments as needed
  • Tobacco cessation referrals
  • Safe sleep and SIDS prevention
  • Parent – child interaction assessment and coaching
  • Assistance with obtaining health insurance coverage, child care, and social services
  • Reinforcement of connection to medical home to reduce unnecessary ED visits

Take the quiz: are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Take the quiz: are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Infographic: Diabetes

Click to enlarge image

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans are unaware that they have prediabetes or diabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. If unmanaged, it can cause life-altering symptoms such as blindness, limb amputations, and kidney failure.

The good news is that you CAN take steps to prevent T2 or manage your diabetes with healthy lifestyle changes.

Click here to take the quiz and find out if you are at risk.  


We can help you take charge of your health

The Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center offers a diabetes prevention program and a diabetes management program. For more information, call the Wellness Center at (828) 266-1060.

Prevent T2 & Weight Loss

Prevent T2 is a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program based upon proven strategies to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The format of the class allows you to interact with your instructor and classmates. You’ll be able to work through challenges together as a group and celebrate each other’s successes.

 

Diabetes Self-Management

For patients with T1 or T2, gestational diabetes or glucose intolerance, this three-month program includes an individual assessment, group educational classes, a follow-up via phone and/or in-person with our diabetes educator (CDE), and a follow-up with the participant’s physician.

Ask your healthcare provider if these programs are right for you.


 

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

(source: cdc.gov)

 

What is Type 2 Diabetes (T2)?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

(source: cdc.gov)

Learn more about diabetes at cdc.gov.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) to open a new Family Practice.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) to open a new Family Practice.

Photo: AppFamily ProvidersLet our family take care of your family

 

Boone has a new family practice in town. AppFamily Medicine, a practice of Appalachian Regional Medical Associates opened on November 4th, 2019.

AppFamily Medicine is a true “family practice” that will provide comprehensive care for all ages, from infants to adults. AppFamily’s primary care providers will be your family’s healthcare partner. In addition to providing general care for the entire family, AppFamily Medicine also provides treatment for a wide range of medical issues including complicated chronic disease management, acute illnesses, care of children, depression and anxiety, as well as both prenatal and routine gynecological care. 

AppFamily Medicine seeks to embody the concept of family medicine with the local community and truly become a health and wellness “home” for patients.

Providers Dr. Molly Benedum, Dr. David Brendle, Dr. Chris McCracken, Dr. Kyle Wilson, and Amanda Blaylock, PA are available for your family. AppFamily Medicine will be located at 148 Hwy. NC 105 Extension Suite 102 just beside Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists.

To learn more about AppFamily Medicine, visit apprhs.org/appfamily/

To schedule an appointment with AppFamily Medicine, patients can call (828) 386-2222 or request an appointment online. 

Molly Benedum , MD

Amanda Blaylock, PA-C

David Brendle, DO

Chris L. McCracken, MD

A. Kyle Wilson, MD

Then and Now: Breast cancer detection and treatment in the High Country

Then and Now: Breast cancer detection and treatment in the High Country

Few things in life are more unifying than a breast cancer diagnosis. Of course, the diagnosis itself is devastating, but it also has a way of bringing together family, friends and medical staff in unexpected and life-changing ways.

At Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) patients have come to expect and appreciate the family-first team approach used to diagnose and treat breast cancer in the High Country. Thanks to advanced technology, a collaborative medical community, innovative surgical techniques, and a first-class regional cancer center located right here in our backyard, patients are choosing now more than ever to stay in our community for their cancer treatment.

 

1993: Regional Cancer Center is established

Watauga Medical Center established the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center in Boone, bringing cancer care – previously unavailable in the High Country – close to home. Patients and their caregivers are seen as family by the highly-trained and compassionate staff. Since its founding, the Cancer Center has continually improved access and quality of care.

2002: Wilma Redmond Fund begins providing mammograms for local women

The Wilma Redmond Mammography Fund is dedicated to the memory of Wilma Redmond, who for more than 20 years managed Watauga Medical Center’s Imaging Department and courageously fought her own breast cancer. When she died in 2002, a fund was established by Watauga Medical Center Foundation (currently Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation). The fund provides free first-time mammograms for uninsured women 35 years and older.

2003: Stereotactic breast biopsy is introduced at Watauga Medical Center

A breast biopsy obtains a sample of breast tissue in order to test for signs of breast cancer or other disorders. Stereotactic is a clinical word for a technique using a mammography machine to precisely locate where the sample should be taken. In 2015, The Wilma Redmond Breast Center, located in the Outpatient Imaging and Lab Center, began performing stereotactic breast biopsy.

2008: The first digital mammogram is performed

Breast diagnostics advanced even further in the High Country with the addition of digital mammography. Instead of mammograms producing x-ray film, a digital image is created that can be manipulated in order to see more clearly.

2015: 3D Mammography comes to the Wilma Redmond Breast Center

With a traditional mammogram, radiologists were tasked with reading the complexities of the breast in a flat image. 3D Mammography builds images into very thin layers, or slices, making details more clear and unobstructed by overlapping tissue.

Because 3D Mammography allows the radiologist to better assess the size, location and shape of any abnormal tissue, more cancers are found at earlier, more treatable stages. The Hologic Three-D mammography technology accounts for 41% increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers and a 40% decrease in a callback rate for a false positive finding.

Even so, some insurance companies still only cover the standard mammogram. Because ARHS felt so strongly about making the latest diagnostic technology available to all of our community, the healthcare system decided to perform all mammograms with 3D technology and not to ask patients to pay out of pocket for any additional costs not covered by their insurance.

2015: Local genetic testing expanded to provide an extensive panel of genetic mutations to be checked

Cancer Genetics counseling and testing is available to our patients. At the no-cost initial visit, patients can meet with a genetic counselor who reviews the patient’s personal and family history, discusses the risks and benefits of genetic testing, and provides support in healthcare decision making. Further testing and evaluation are also available.

2015: The Wilma Redmond Breast Center institutes a fast-track breast program and a breast navigation team

Patients with an abnormal breast screening are sent to a fast track for surgical consultation so doctors can diagnose cancer early and immediately begin to treat it. The breast navigator, Gloria Payne, RTRM, walks patients through the process of receiving abnormal results, scheduling additional imaging examinations, and sending patients for surgical consultation.

2018: The Together We Fight collaborative coordinates many local events for maximum impact

The Together We Fight collaborative includes community events and fundraisers such as Tanger Outlets PINK campaign, Doc’s Rocks Mining for a Purpose, Pink Day at ARHS, CrossFit event Kilograms for Mammograms, and the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation’s Walk/Run for Breast Cancer.

2018: Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery is introduced at Watauga Medical Center

Hidden Scar is an advanced surgical technique used to hide the scars of cancer surgery as best as possible with an oncoplastic approach. If surgery is recommended to remove breast cancer, patients can take comfort in the fact that Watauga Medical Center is one of only a few hospitals in North Carolina to offer Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery. Both Dr. Anne-Corinne Beaver and Dr. Paul Dagher of Watauga Surgical Group have been recognized as Hidden Scar® Trained Surgeons for Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery.

2018: Progressive Anesthesia is performed for Breast Cancer Surgery at Watauga Medical Center

The Anesthesia team at Watauga Medical Center began routinely performing ultrasound-guided pectoralis muscle blocks for better pain control during and after surgery. This allows less inhalational agents and less opioid pain medicines to be used, which is believed to improve outcomes— especially for cancer patients.

2019: Breast MRI is used for advanced diagnostics

Breast MRI provides advanced diagnostics for detecting breast cancer, other breast abnormalities, or routine breast screening. This is another important tool in detecting breast cancer early and accurately.

2019: Paxman Scalp Cooling technology available

Thanks to generous donors, Paxman scalp cooling is available to qualifying patients receiving chemotherapy treatments for solid tumor cancer. It helps to prevent hair-loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. The goal is to help patients look and feel their best while fighting a difficult battle.

Photo: Dr. Beaver with Paxman

Dr. Anne-Corinne Beaver, a beloved physician and general/breast surgeon at Watauga Surgical Group, learned first-hand that cancer does not discriminate when she was diagnosed with the disease in November of 2017. With experience on both sides of the treatment, she has developed even more of a passion to see advanced breast cancer care in the High Country.

“I can testify as both a surgeon and as a survivor that this community is All In when it comes to fighting breast cancer,” said Dr. Beaver. “I chose to stay close to home for my breast cancer treatment because I know just how good the treatment services are right here in this community.”

Wilma Redmond Breast Center

1200 State Farm Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 268-9037
Fax: (828) 268-9484
Visit website

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center

Monday-Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
336 Deerfield Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 262-4332
Visit Website

ARHS announces changes for The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge

ARHS announces changes for The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge

Photo: FoleyCenter-Entrance-Night

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is pleased to announce that effective October 1, 2019, Liberty Healthcare Properties of Watauga County, LLC and Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Watauga County, LLC (Liberty) became the owner/operator, respectively, of the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, located in Blowing Rock, N.C.

ARHS President and CEO Chuck Mantooth commented on the ownership change by saying, “the future of healthcare delivery, particularly in rural areas will be about leveraging partnerships. Over the last year, as we worked with Liberty to plan the development of a senior living campus at Chestnut Ridge it became clear that the skilled nursing and assisted living services should be integrated within their care continuum. Liberty can now take the next steps forward to evaluate the nature of and develop the retirement community that we have been working toward for the last 10 years.”

In addition to the 112-bed skilled nursing and assisted living facility, the acquisition also includes the 10.002 acres where the Foley Center is located.

Mantooth said, “The Foley Center will continue to be an important facility to ARHS in terms of providing post-acute care services for our aging population.” ARHS will continue to work collaboratively with the Foley Center to ensure access and quality of care.

Mantooth concluded by saying, “this change is part of a broader partnership agreement with Liberty to develop a senior living community on the entire 68-acre tract. Our contract has incentives which are intended to accelerate the study and development of a senior living community and we will be working with Liberty to help it proceed.”

Jeff Wilson, Chief Operating Officer for Liberty commented on the acquisition by saying, “we are extremely grateful to ARHS for working with us to help make Chestnut Ridge a high quality, comprehensive senior living community in the future.”

To learn more about Liberty Senior Living visit libertyseniorliving.com.