Don’t neglect your health: ARHS is open with COVID-safe care

Don’t neglect your health: ARHS is open with COVID-safe care

COVID Safe Care

Caring for you and keeping you safe 

Outpatient services and diagnostic testing services are OPEN with regular hours and schedules. We have always taken a compassionate and safe approach to your care, and we continue to do that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response. Since COVID-19 may continue to be a consideration now and in the future, that same safe approach is still as important.

Visitor Restrictions: Visitors are not allowed at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s facilities.

Masks Requirements: All who enter an ARHS facility are required to wear a mask.

Temperature Checks: ALL patients, employees and contractors at our locations undergo temperature screening before entering. 

Cleaning and Physical Distance: Rigorous cleaning routines go over and above our normal sanitation

Medical Offices

Open regular hours for telehealth and in-person visits. Call the office (find contact numbers here) or request an appointment online.

AppUrgent Care

Open during regular hours. Don’t ignore ear pain, sore throat, vomiting, fever without rash, painful urination, etc. 

Emergency Department

Hospitals are safe. It’s not safe to ignore potentially life-threatening symptoms (chest pain, stroke, respiratory distress, or injury)

The Rehabilitation Center

Open in Boone and Linville and no referral is necessary in most cases. Call (828) 268-9043 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.

Behavioral Health

Available by telehealth or in-person visits, and no referral is necessary. Call (828) 737-7888 or request an appointment online to schedule an appointment.

Imaging and Lab

Outpatient Imaging and Lab services are available Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Walk in or call (828) 266-2492.

Hospital Services

Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab

At the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 8am – 12pm with masks, 6-foot distancing, and deep cleaning.

Surgery

Some surgeries are proceeding with COVID-safe precautions. Call your provider for more information.

Outpatient Clinics

OPEN:
Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center
The Cardiology Center
The Pain Management Center
The Sleep Center
The Wound Care Center

Telehealth Video Visits

 

You may not need to physically appear in the office to be treated by your provider. ARHS has launched a new telehealth program to ensure patients have safe, convenient access to their providers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Through telehealth visits, patients can meet with a healthcare provider using a computer or mobile device from the safety of their own homes. Telehealth is most appropriate for routine visits such as simple acute care (sick visits), follow-up, wellness visits, and behavioral health concerns like depression, anxiety or grief.

Call your provider or request an appointment online to see if telehealth is right for you.

Face masks required for all inside ARHS facilities

Face masks required for all inside ARHS facilities

Lady with MaskOn Tuesday, April 28, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) began requiring masks for all who enter an ARHS facility. This new requirement applies to all employees, even those in non-clinical areas, patients and vendors. Additionally, in those rare instances where visitors may be allowed inside an ARHS facility, they too will be required to wear a face mask.

“We understand it may feel different to wear a mask. However, the smallest things can sometimes make the biggest difference,” said Chuck Mantooth, President and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Masks help prevent people spreading COVID-19 to others before they know they are sick, and we all have a part to play in protecting each other. Our employees are leading by example because we deeply care about our community. We will continue to adapt and do everything we can to ensure the health and safety our patients, staff, vendors and visitors.”

Why is ARHS implementing this requirement? 

The CDC updated their recommendations for healthcare personnel on April 13 by communicating, “as part of source control efforts, healthcare personnel should wear a face mask at all times, while they are in the healthcare facility.”

Read more about CDC recommendations >

The Joint Commission also believes that universal masking within healthcare settings is a critical tool to protect staff and patients from being infected by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals and should be implemented in any community where coronavirus is occurring.

Read more about Joint Commission recommendations >

What type of face mask is required and how can I get one?

Patients will be encouraged to arrive wearing a cloth face mask. If they do not, they will be provided with a cloth (or OSHA approved yellow) face mask when they enter the entry checkpoints at Watauga Medical Center (WMC) and Cannon Memorial Hospital (CMH).

Patients entering an outpatient medical office will be provided with a cloth (or OSHA approved yellow) face mask at check-in.

Per CDC guidelines, face masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

If you have additional questions about wearing a face mask to your appointment, please call the appropriate facility prior to your arrival.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System recognizes National Volunteer Week April 19-25.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System recognizes National Volunteer Week April 19-25.

Infographic: 2019-ARHS-Volunteers-1-pdfNational Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year. Although things are a bit different this year due to the restrictions of COVID-19, we would still like to shine a light on the people who so freely serve, recognizing and thanking volunteers who lend their time, voice, and passion to make a difference in their communities.

During 2019, ARHS had 212 volunteers who gave 16,489 hours of their time and talents toward making a difference to the people of the High Country. They contributed to and supported 45 different job services including visiting patients, pastoral services, blood drives, and working in our gift shops.

“I consider all of these amazing volunteers to be the real heartbeat of our system,” said Sallie Woodring, ARHS Director of Volunteer Services. “Every day they bring to our hospitals and affiliates within ARHS all of their many talents to share with our patients, staff and visitors.”

Doing good comes in many forms and we are truly thankful for our volunteers who serve as an inspiration to us all.

For more information on volunteering at ARHS please contact Sallie Woodring at swoodring@apprhs.org or visit Appalachian Regional Healthcare System at www.apprhs.org/volunteer/.

Photo Volunteer Roger Mashke

Roger Mashke began volunteering at Cannon Memorial Hospital after the staff cared for his wife. Read Roger’s story >

More stories from our volunteers

Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

From the very beginning, Roger Mashke has always had a knack for interacting with and helping people. Whether it was running a successful television business or working as a volunteer firefighter, leaving a positive impact on another individual has always been his main source of motivation. That’s why when given the opportunity to volunteer for Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital, he knew it was what he wanted to do. Four years later, Mashke is still one of the most dedicated volunteers we have at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) as a whole.  Read More: Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

read more
Local Nurse Recovering Well After Kidney Donation

Local Nurse Recovering Well After Kidney Donation

AudraW

Just before midnight on Tuesday, March 3, Audra Wiseman arrived at the Center for Transplant Services at the University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) to prepare for kidney donation surgery, which would save the life of a 47-year-old Avery High School teacher, Shannon Perdue.

(Read about Audra’s decision to donate a kidney here.)

After undergoing last-minute tests which would clear the way for surgery, Audra’s emotions began to stir. “It was stressful. I was anxious…very nervous,” Audra said. However, throughout all the stress, Audra never once thought about changing her mind. “I was just ready for it to happen,” she said.

At 6:00 am on Wednesday, Audra was moved into the pre-op unit where she was greeted with a pleasant surprise. “I saw Miss Shannon there. She was in the bed beside me. I was so happy to see her.” Audra’s elation was short lived however because she learned that Shannon’s creatinine had risen significantly and she was not breathing well. “I was concerned,” Audra said, “Our families and Pastor Ron Greene all prayed together. It was a special moment for everyone.”

The pre-COVID-19 Miracle

Shannon confirmed that the surgery almost didn’t happen. “I was very sick. They did an x-ray on me and thought I had pneumonia.” For a brief period the surgeons were evaluating sending both women home. Shannon added, “It is a miracle they went ahead with [the surgery]. This was right before the Corona virus really ramped up. I’m so truly blessed. If we would have waited another week or two, then we likely wouldn’t have done the surgery.”

During surgery Audra’s and Shannon’s families spent time together in the waiting area. Shannon knew that her mother Joan was particularly nervous. “My dad died of this same disease, so I’m sure she had that on her mind,” Shannon said.

Audra does not remember anything about the surgery itself. She recalled waking up in her room with her family and pastor by her side. The first few days after surgery, Audra felt a lot more pain than she expected.

Shannon experienced pain, too. But in recovery the physicians came to meet with her and her family to explain that the kidney was already functioning properly. “I remember them saying, ‘it’s a great kidney’…they actually thought Audra was an athlete,” she said.

Visible Reminders

The procedure left Audra with a visible reminder of her act of kindness. “Yes, I have a few small incisions and one that is larger. They are healing well, however,” she added. When asked what she thinks about when she sees the incisions, she replied, “they will always remind me of the gift I gave.” After a moment of reflection Audra continued, “and how fortunate I was to be able to give it.”

The day after surgery, Shannon’s mother Joan came to visit Audra to thank her for giving the gift of life. Audra was pleased to learn that Shannon’s new kidney was working perfectly. She recalled hearing that Shannon had lost nine liters of excess fluid and 15 pounds overnight. “It made me so happy to know that it was successful. That news made it all worth it,” she said.

On Thursday Shannon and Audra were moved into adjoining rooms. “I went to see Shannon on Thursday and again on Friday …Those visits were emotional …She just thanked me and we cried together,” said Audra.

To celebrate their new bond, Joan took a picture of them together — with a promise that the photo would not be shared anywhere. Shannon joked, “we didn’t look so great, so we agreed the picture would be just for us.”

Audra and Shannon Now

Audra and Shannon have been staying in touch with each other since the surgery. Audra said that Shannon and Joan text often, just to check in. In order to keep healthy, Shannon has been quarantined at home since leaving the hospital. Shannon only leaves home to go to UTMC in Knoxville. Over the next year she’ll see the kidney transplant team every few weeks for follow up. As her condition stabilizes, she’ll return to the care of her personal nephrologist. Shannon said that her bond with Audra will last forever. “My whole family considers her [to be] family now.”

Audra will continue to recover at home until May 4 when she returns to work as a nurse at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC. When asked about making that transition Audra selflessly remarked, “I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal…to taking care of others again.”

Thankful for Community Support

In the days since the surgery, Audra has been overwhelmed by the community’s support. In spite of giving the gift of life she suggested, “I really feel like I’m the lucky one. While this surgery changed Shannon’s life for the better, it made my life better, too.”

Audra has received hundreds of notes, cards, texts and phone calls expressing gratitude and support. “People have been so kind to me…I want to thank them so much. I’m so thankful for their caring and kindness,” she said.

ARHS expands access to care through new telehealth program

ARHS expands access to care through new telehealth program

Lindsey Henley, FNP-C after first telehealth visit

Lindsey Henley, FNP-C of AppGastro with her medical office assistant Kayla Welch, CMA

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has launched a new telehealth program to ensure patients have safe, convenient access to their providers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Through telehealth visits, patients can meet with a healthcare provider using a computer or mobile device from the safety of their own homes. Telehealth is most appropriate for routine visits such as simple acute care (sick visits), follow-up, wellness visits, and behavioral health concerns like depression, anxiety or grief.

Dr. Anderson after telehealth visit

Dr. Anderson of AppOrtho with his medical office assistant Amelia Lowe- CMA

Appalachian Regional Medical Associates providers have been piloting the program and are pleased with the results. Telehealth appointments are available throughout the week during regular office hours. In-person appointments will be alternated with telehealth appointments to limit the number of patients in each office in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

“We are incredibly proud of our providers and staff for moving quickly to implement this telehealth program for the benefit of our patients,” said Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive, “They were asked to drastically adapt how they practice medicine, completed training, and began seeing patients within 14 days.”

During the telehealth visit, if the healthcare provider determines that an in-person visit is needed, they will stop the virtual visit and schedule the patient for an in-person appointment. The patient and their insurance will not be billed for the telehealth visit if an in-person appointment is required

Dr. Price

Dr. Price of Davant Medical Clinic with his medical office assistant Lacon Parsons, CMA

The first ARHS providers to utilize telehealth visits were Dr. David Kimmel of Elk River Medical Associates, Dr. Lynda Gioia-Flynt of Harmony Center for Women, Dr. Jason Crawford of Baker Center for Primary Care, and Dr. David Brendle of AppFamily Medicine. Since its launch, the program has expanded to about 30 providers throughout the healthcare system.

Dr. Steven Anderson, orthopedic surgeon at AppOrtho has been participating in telehealth visits with his patients. Patients of all ages were easily able to log on and complete the telehealth visit. “For a time like this, it’s a great way to communicate with patients while abiding by social distancing guidelines,” said Anderson, “There are also instances where telehealth makes sense in general, such as reviewing MRI results.” According to Anderson, every patient he has seen via telehealth has enjoyed the visit.

For Dr. Lynda Gioia-Flynt of Harmony Center for Women, telehealth is appropriate for things like medication follow up, contraception counseling, procreative counseling, STD prevention and exposure counseling, postpartum depression and postoperative visits with incision checks. “Telemedicine has helped bridge the gaps that would occur otherwise with social distancing,“ said Gioia-Flynt, “If we delay too many visits we could not only miss caring for our patients now, but also might over-burden the system later once restrictions lighten.”

“The telehealth visits felt more personal than I anticipated, and I was able to really connect with my patients well through the platform,” said Dr. Grasinger, a gynecologist at Davant Medical Clinic in Blowing Rock, “This option is safer for patient as well as staff, and patients have been happy with the visits.”

Patients will not need to download apps or software to participate. To request a telehealth visit, patients should call the office directly or request an appointment online as if they were scheduling an in-person appointment.

While the telehealth program was launched as a way to increase access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope to continue in the future as a safe, convenient way to receive care at any time.  ARHS is continually looking for new ways to serve the community and telehealth is the latest result of that commitment.

Pictured below are some of our providers, joined by their medical office assistants, who have enjoyed telehealth visits with their patients so far.

Dr. Califf of AppOrtho with Susan Young, RN

Dr. Chidester of Baker Center for Primary Care with Leslie Pollard, MOA

Dr. Stark of Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists with Tracey Berner, MOA

Amber Stern, NP-C of The Cardiology Center

Sarah Seaver, MSN, NP of Baker Center for Primary Care

Dr. Smith of Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists with Hailey Beshears, CMA

Dr. Parker of AppOrtho with Kaitlyn Walker, CMA

Dr. Bullers of AppOrtho with Brandy Rawson, CMA

Shauna Stadelmaier, PA-C of AppOrtho with Santana Buchanan, CMA


How does a telehealth visit work?

 

  1. The patient should call the office or request an appointment online just as if they were scheduling an in-person appointment.
  2. At the time of the visit, they will receive an email with a link and instructions for how to join the visit.

 

Which patients can request a telehealth visit and for what types of visits?

 

Telehealth visits are available for patients who do not require a physical exam. Patients must reside in North Carolina and have reliable internet access, an email address, and a device with a camera and microphone such as a smartphone, computer or tablet.

 

Providers can usually address the following types of issues through telehealth:

 

  • Medication management/refill visits
  • Wellness visits
  • Follow-up visits
  • Simple acute (sick) visits
  • Allergies
  • Upper respiratory symptoms
  • Rashes
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Behavioral health visits

 

Which practices and outpatient clinics offer telehealth options?

 

The following practices and outpatient clinics currently offer telehealth services. More clinics may add the service in the future. Call the office or clinic to ask about specific offerings.

 

Appalachian Regional Medical Associates

 

Cannon Memorial Hospital

 

Watauga Medical Center

 

Dr. Califf of AppOrtho with Susan Young, RN

Dr. Chidester of Baker Center for Primary Care with Leslie Pollard, MOA

Dr. Stark of Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists with Tracey Berner, MOA

Amber Stern, NP-C of The Cardiology Center

Sarah Seaver, MSN, NP of Baker Center for Primary Care

Dr. Smith of Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists with Hailey Beshears, CMA

Dr. Parker of AppOrtho with Kaitlyn Walker, CMA

Dr. Bullers of AppOrtho with Brandy Rawson, CMA

Shauna Stadelmaier, PA-C of AppOrtho with Santana Buchanan, CMA

Healthcare System Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

Healthcare System Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

On Wednesday April 8, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) was notified by AppHealthCare (the health department) that an ARHS employee who had recently traveled has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee did not provide direct patient care, has been in quarantine and is recovering at home. Additionally, ARHS has been working with the health department to identify other staff who may have been in contact with the employee who tested positive. Each of these employees has also self-quarantined.

“As a healthcare organization operating in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we take very seriously our commitment to preserving protected health information and respecting the privacy of individuals infected by the virus,” said Rob Hudspeth, Senior Vice President for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.

ARHS will continue to work closely with AppHealthCare and local, state, and national health officials to ensure we are taking the strongest possible precautions to keep employees and patients safe.

For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s COVID-19 response, please visit apprhs.org/covid19/.