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Wound Care Services are moving to Watauga Surgical Group

Wound Care Services are moving to Watauga Surgical Group

Watauga Surgical Group

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is excited to announce that The Wound Care Center will be moving to Watauga Surgical Group in September.

Wound care patients will no longer come to Watauga Medical Center for appointments. Beginning September 8, patients should go to Watauga Surgical Group, located at 965 State Farm Road in Boone. This location will be more convenient for patients with a faster check-in process.

Dealing with non-healing wounds that are a result of trauma, surgery, complications with diabetes or pressure ulcers, often require an aggressive multidisciplinary team approach. The wound care team is dedicated to restoring health and mobility to patients living with a persistent wound and their healing rates are 23% higher than the national average.

Wound care services include pre and post-operative education, stoma marking, total contact casting, compression treatment, negative pressure wound therapy, wound irrigation and debridement, skin grafts and more.

For more information about wound care services, please call 828-262-9520 or visit

AppFamily Medicine to offer extended hours, same-day appointments, and walk-in clinic

AppFamily Medicine to offer extended hours, same-day appointments, and walk-in clinic

Photo AppFamily ProvidersAppFamily Medicine in Boone began offering extended hours, same-day appointments, and a Saturday walk-in clinic beginning September 14.

Monday – Friday:

  • Same-Day appointments are available 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for new and established patients, and walk-ins are welcome from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Regular appointments are available for routine services such as family medicine, pediatric and adolescent care, chronic disease management, behavioral health, women’s health, and more.


  • The walk-in clinic operates 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays

When it opened in November, 2019, AppFamily Medicine significantly increased access to primary care in the High Country. The intent of the practice was – and still is – to embody the concept of family medicine with the local community and truly become a “health and wellness home” for patients.

“Expanding the hours and services at AppFamily Medicine makes sense because it brings us closer to our purpose of being a full-service healthcare home for the entire family. With additional providers and extended hours, High Country families will be able to access the care they need when they need it,” said Dr. Molly Benedum, AppFamily physician and director of MAHEC Rural Family Medicine Residency Program.

The MAHEC Boone Rural Family Medicine Residency Program, which makes its home at Watauga Medical Center and AppFamily Medicine, welcomed four new doctors – its first group of residents. Acute care providers Laura Zimmerman, MD, and Gray Lackey, PA-C, also joined AppFamily, bringing the total number of providers and residents to twelve.

With the expansion of AppFamily Medicine’s same-day and walk-in care, AppUrgent Care Center in Boone closed it’s current location on September 11th. The services offered at AppUrgent Care is now available at AppFamily Medicine, with the exception of x-ray, urine drug screens and breath alcohol testing.

“We are excited to expand AppFamily Medicine to include services historically provided by AppUrgent Care. By transitioning these services to AppFamily Medicine, patients will have a comprehensive and seamless experience between urgent and primary care, and access to twelve providers with experience in pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, and more,” said Benedum.

If experiencing the following conditions or symptoms, call (828) 386-2222 to make a same-day appointment, or walk in at 148 Hwy 105 Extension, Suite 102 in Boone.

  • Allergic Reactions
  • Burns
  • CDL Physicals
  • Head Injuries
  • Insect Bites
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Lacerations
  • Muscle Injuries & Sprains
  • Splinters & Other Foreign Objects
  • TB testing
  • Worker’s Comp
  • Other non-life-threatening acute symptoms

Call 911 or go to your closest Emergency Room if you have a potentially life-threatening illness or injury, such as heart attack, stroke, or traumatic injury.

AppFamily Medicine

AppFamily Medicine

148 Hwy 105 Extension, Suite 102
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 386-2222
Fax: (828) 386-2223
Visit website

Same-Day Appointment and Walk-in Providers

Amanda Blaylock, PA-C

Amanda Blaylock, PA-C

Laura Zimmerman, MD

Laura Zimmerman, MD

Gray Lackey, PA-C

Gray Lackey, PA-C

ARHS expands services and opens new Heart and Vascular Center

ARHS expands services and opens new Heart and Vascular Center

Heart & Vascular Center

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is excited to announce the opening of the new Heart & Vascular Center at Watauga Medical Center (WMC) in Boone. Formerly known as The Cardiology Center, the 8,000 square foot facility will open on August 17th in a new heart care wing at the medical center.

The Heart & Vascular Center will provide more efficient and convenient access for patients,  by integrating outpatient heart care with diagnostic services in the same convenient location. 

“We are excited to provide a collaborative approach to the treatment of complex heart and vascular conditions,” said Kim Bianca, President of Watauga Medical Center. “Bringing services – diagnostic testing, catheterization lab, etc. – under one roof reduces the wait time for patients and enhances the level of interaction between medical professionals to collaborate and deliver customized care.”

Patients of the Heart & Vascular Center will find twelve exam rooms, three device rooms, and two heart failure treatment rooms. The new name represents the enhanced service offerings and multi-disciplined team of board-certified cardiologists, advanced practice providers, cardiac nurses, office staff, and device technicians that all partner with patients to manage symptoms, monitor medications, and create customized treatment plans.


Time is Muscle


During a cardiac emergency, time is muscle. A delay in restoring blood flow increases the chance for significant damage to the heart muscle.

On July 1, Watauga Medical Center began performing cardiac catheterizations 24/7.  This expanded service ensures patients experiencing a cardiac emergency receive a prompt diagnosis and expedited treatment in Boone. Now with 24/7 coverage, cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, emergency department providers and emergency first responders can partner to diagnose problems with blood flow, blood pressure and valve function, which can save lives and reduce the chances of long-term damage.

Watauga Medical Center has two interventional procedure labs equipped to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care including coronary and peripheral vascular procedures, interventional radiology, interventional cardiac procedures (cardiac cath), and device implants such as heart monitors, pacemakers and defibrillators. On average, more than 450 diagnostic cardiac catheterizations are done annually at WMC.

“The catheterization lab also boasts a 40-minute door-to-balloon time, which is 14 minutes better than the national average,” said Dr. Donna Denier, Medical Director for the Cath Lab and Heart and Vascular Center.” (Door -to balloon time is a national metric in the treatment of heart attacks. It denotes the time between when the patient arrives in the emergency room until the time the balloon is inflated in the blocked, coronary artery. The recommended door-to-balloon time is 90 minutes).


Excellence and Quality


Coronary_Intervention_AwardWith all of the changes that are taking place at the medical center regarding heart and vascular care, one thing patients can be certain will remain the same: the award winning care they receive from the multi-disciplined heart and vascular team. Their high standards of excellence have not gone unnoticed. The most recent accolades they’ve received include the Gold Seal of Approval and advanced certification for Chest Pain by the Joint Commission, along with a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Healthgrades also recognized Watauga Medical Center with the 2020 Coronary Intervention Excellence Award™ and they were ranked in the top 10% in the nation in 2020. WMC also received a 5-star rating for Treatment of Heart Attack two years in a row (2019-2020) and a 5-star rating for Treatment of Heart Failure in 2020.

Additionally, the Echocardiography labs at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville are certified by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission in Echocardiography for heart (cardiac) imaging excellence.

“Having a local healthcare team experienced in heart and vascular care is not just a convenience, it is imperative,” said Bianca. “The opening of this facility represents our continued commitment to providing excellent medical care in the high country.”


COVID-Safe Care


COVID Safe CareWhile it is understandable that many patients have concerns about seeking care for non-coronavirus-related conditions, the health risks of delaying care – especially regarding heart health – could be more severe than COVID-19 itself. All of ARHS has implemented enhanced safety measures to include rigorous cleaning protocols, limited visitation, advanced screening processes, and separate medical units for those suspected of having COVID-19.

“Please do not delay care, as time is of the essence with any heart-related issue,” Bianca continued. “Reports of heart attacks have declined by 40 percent worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 is still impacting the area, our number one priority at the Heart & Vascular Center and across the healthcare system is safe, timely care.”

As our community continues to receive COVID-19 prevention advice and rising case counts, it’s important to stay informed and utilize reliable sources such as CDC, NCDHHS, AppHealthCare and Toe River Health District For more information about COVID-Safe care, visit


Virtual Ribbon Cutting & Tour


The community is invited to join Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce in celebrating the new Heart & Vascular Center through an online event. The Virtual Ribbon Cutting & Tour will be streamed on Tuesday, September 1st at 4:30 pm via Facebook Live at

For more information about heart and vascular services offered across Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, please visit

ARHS partners with local law enforcement to provide face masks for the community

ARHS partners with local law enforcement to provide face masks for the community

ARHS donates masks to local law enforcement

Photo (left to right): Captain Kelly Redmon, Chief Deputy for the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Len Hagaman, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Chuck Mantooth, President & CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Andy Le Beau, Police Chief of Boone Police Department, and Aaron Miller, Police Chief of Blowing Rock Police Department.

On Friday, June 26, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order went into effect requiring face masks be worn in public spaces where physical distancing of six feet is not possible. To help the community adhere to this requirement, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) donated 800 washable, reusable cloth face masks for local law enforcement officers to distribute as needed. Face masks will soon be donated to Avery County law enforcement officers as well.

The donated face masks will enable law enforcement officers to use a problem-solving approach to the enforcement of the order, offering a face mask to those without one. Hopefully, these additional mask resources can turn a potential confrontation into an opportunity to help keep the community safe.

“We realize that we have a role to play in supporting our law enforcement officers who are responsible for enforcing the mask requirement,” said Chuck Mantooth, President and CEO of ARHS. “This is a good opportunity for us to give back to the community and reinforce the importance of the three Ws – wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing hands.”

ARHS, Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare), and other local businesses have been partnering to promote the “Show Your Love” campaign, highlighting the importance of following the three Ws. “At this time it is imperative that our community continue to come together to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and ARHS is committed to doing what we can,” Mantooth said.

“Boone Police are grateful for our partnership with ARHS. It is our duty to respond to violations of the Governor’s Executive Order requiring masks to be worn in many circumstances,” said Andy Le Beau, Chief of Police of the Boone Police Department. “The first part of our duty is to educate citizens about the requirement. With the masks supplied by ARHS we can now hand them a mask as well as provide education. We have many visitors from other areas who simply are not informed about the requirements. This supply of masks not only makes our job easier, but helps make our community safer.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “law enforcement personnel cannot criminally enforce the face covering requirements of this order against individual workers, customers, or patrons. However, if a business or organization does not allow entry to a worker, customer, or patron because that person refuses to wear a face covering, and if that worker, customer, or patron enters the premises or refuses to leave the premises, law enforcement personnel may enforce the trespassing laws.”

To learn more about how ARHS is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

COVID-19 Testing in Watauga and Avery Counties

COVID-19 Testing in Watauga and Avery Counties

Who can get tested?

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should consider getting tested. NCDHHS issued updated guidance on who should be tested for COVID-19. The new guidance recommends that clinicians test any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected.

Symptoms include: fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea/vomiting and/or diarrhea.

If you are experiencing severe, life threatening symptoms (for example, severe difficulty breathing, altered thinking, blue lips), seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1.


How to get tested

DO NOT come to the Emergency Department for COVID-19 symptoms unless you have trouble breathing. For non-life-threatening symptoms, call your primary care provider, health department, urgent care, or telemedicine provider.

If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your primary healthcare provider or one of the medical offices below.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

1. Call a healthcare provider

If you do not have a provider, you may call one of the offices below. You may also connect with RelyMD telehealth online at on your computer or mobile device. Use coupon code BEWELLARHS for a $49 RelyMD visit.

2. Provider refers for testing, if needed

If the provider determines that you meet the criteria for testing, he/she will help you make your appointment at a testing location in Watauga or Avery County. Please DO NOT travel to the testing location without an appointment.

3. Follow instructions after testing

If your test is positive for COVID-19, you will need to be isolated for 14 days. The testing facility will provide education for you and your family whether you test positive for the virus or not.

AppFamily Medicine

AppFamily Medicine

148 Hwy 105 Extension, Suite 102
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 386-2222
Fax: (828) 386-2223
Visit website

Baker Center for Primary Care

Baker Center for Primary Care

436 Hospital Drive, Suite 230
Linville, NC 28646
Phone: (828) 737-7711
Fax: (828) 737-7713
Visit website

Elk River Medical Associates

150 Park Avenue
Banner Elk, NC 28604
Phone: (828) 898-5177
Fax: (828) 898-8306
Visit website

Billing and Insurance Information

ARHS provider visits (in-person or telehealth) will be covered by your insurance just as a normal office visit would. If testing is needed, it will be billed separately.

If you do not have health insurance:

  • Call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.
  • Apply for Financial Assistance with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.  Call the Financial Counseling Office at (828) 262-4110.



COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Cash Price: $98

Initial office visit is NOT included in the COVID-19 cash price. During the COVID-19 emergency period declared by the Public Health Act, providers are required to make public the cash prices for the diagnostic test for COVID-19 [Reference: CARES Act Sec. 3202]. 
NOTE: All healthcare providers and testing facilities are required to report all positive results to the health department.
Boone Urology Center Moving to New Location

Boone Urology Center Moving to New Location

Boone Urology Center is excited to share that the medical practice will be moving to a new location in July. The current State Farm Road location will close on July 22 and the practice will reopen at their new location, 400 Shadowline Drive in Boone, on Monday, July 27.

new urology location

Urologists Dr. Charles Miller and Dr. Anthony Schlake combine skill and experience in the compassionate treatment of urological conditions including impotence, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, urologic cancer and more. For those who live in Ashe County, Boone Urology Center also offers services at the Jefferson Specialty Clinic in Jefferson, NC.

If you have questions about medications, treatments, insurance, billing or appointments, please call at 828-264-5150 or visit