Cannon Memorial Hospital Opens New Medical Surgical Unit

Cannon Memorial Hospital Opens New Medical Surgical Unit



After three years of planning and a year of construction, Cannon Memorial Hospital’s new Medical Surgical Unit is officially open. Hospital staff moved patients into the beautiful healing space on Thursday, June 25th.

The ARHS-funded renovations to create the 8-bed acute care unit Cannon Memorial Hospital began on June 4, 2019. The spacious, family-friendly rooms allow for family members to comfortably stay with loved ones overnight. Rooms are also equipped with the latest technology which enable the medical care team to access the patient’s medical records and discuss care plans with the patient and their family.

Upon completion of phase one, Cannon Memorial Hospital immediately began construction on phase two – a 27-bed Behavioral Health Unit – funded by a $6.5 million grant from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (NCDHHS).

Cannon Hospital’s existing 10-bed inpatient behavioral health unit can accommodate only a fraction of the referrals the facility receives.

The funding for the grant originated from the Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund, which was created by the North Carolina General Assembly from the sale of the Dorothea Dix Hospital in 2015. The Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund was established as a part of NCDHHS’s plan to expand the number of beds that provide crisis stabilization and inpatient behavioral healthcare. The plan calls for 150 new behavioral health inpatient beds across the state.The new behavioral health unit is expected to be complete in the fall of 2021, according to Cannon Memorial Hospital President, Carmen Lacey.

For more information about behavioral health services, visit



BE FAST isn’t just a saying for Watauga Medical Center’s nationally recognized stroke program

BE FAST isn’t just a saying for Watauga Medical Center’s nationally recognized stroke program

The Stroke Center of Watauga Medical Center was recently recognized by the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines® program and awarded the Silver Plus and Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll quality designations for 2019.

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. Abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost, i.e. speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

Time is of the essence in treating stroke patients, and the most important factor in successful treatment is early intervention. Watauga Medical Center Emergency Department staff are trained to recognize the signs of stroke and spring to action immediately to implement stroke treatment protocols.

The acronym BE FAST can help people recognize the signs of stroke and quickly get the help needed.

Balance: Sudden loss of balance and coordination
Eyes: Sudden trouble seeing, or blurred vision in one or both eyes
Face: One side of the face droops or is numb
Arm: Sudden weakness or numbness of any arm or leg
Speech: Sudden Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
Time: Call 911 immediately, and note the time symptoms started

Through the Telestroke program, patients have 24/7 access to acute stroke experts via two-way real time video consultation. Thanks to this network, emergency room physicians are able to receive on demand consultation to help diagnose strokes, develop care plans, and take action if necessary.

Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll quality designation from the American Heart Association certifies that stroke patients receive Intravenous Thrombolytic Therapy within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital – 30% quicker than the national average.

In order to receive the Silver Plus quality award, Watauga Medical Center met or exceeded 15 criteria set forth by the American Health Association covering early and thorough treatment, patient education, follow-up treatment and more.

The Stroke Center at Watauga Medical Center is also certified by The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center following a detailed, on-site re-certification review of the hospital in March 2019. The certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care.

For more information about stroke services at Appalachian Regional Healthcare system, visit

Emergency Entrance

Your Birthing Center Experience

Your Birthing Center Experience

birthing center visitationWelcome to the John R. Marchese Birthing Center, located inside Watauga Medical Center. We are so glad you’ve chosen to have your baby here, and we are proud of the excellent care we provide to mothers and babies. If it’s your first time having a baby, we encourage you to attend our Birthing Center Classes so you’ll be as prepared as possible.


Your Birthing Center Experience


Registration: When you arrive for your birthing experience, enter through Watauga Medical Center’s main entrance or the Emergency Entrance and check in at Patient Registration. Even if you are sent over from Harmony Center for Women, go first to Patient Registration and a member of the birthing center staff will come down and escort you. When you register, let our staff know if you would like a room with a labor tub.

Visitors/Companions: Up to three visitors may be in the room at a time during labor. However when pushing and delivery begins, only one visitor is allowed in the room. Any visitors who will not be in the room during the birth should wait in the Birthing Center Waiting Room. View full Birthing Center Visitor Guidelines.

Length of Stay: 24 hours is the typical length of stay for a routine birth with a full-term infant (37 weeks or later). If the baby is born at 36 weeks or earlier, or a C-Section is needed, the length of stay is at least 48 hours.

Infant/Mother Rooming: We encourage your baby to stay in the room with you as much as possible to facilitate bonding and breastfeeding success. As long as mother and baby are medically stable, you can be together at all times.

Onsite Pediatricians: Our Pediatric Hospitalists will examine your baby in your room, and be available for any care he/she needs while in the hospital.

Cesarean Section: Our Operating Room Suite is in the Birthing Center. Babies born by C-Section will be cared for in the infant nursery until the mother has recovered and then will be moved to the mother’s room.


Safety Precautions:


Pink Staff Badges: Anyone who works in the Birthing Center will have a pink staff badge, including their photo, clearly displayed.

ID Bracelets: A newborns is immediately given an ID bracelet on his/het wrist that match the mother’s ID bracelet. She may also designate her significant other to receive a matching bracelet.

Infant Monitoring System: A monitor will be put on your baby’s ankle. If the monitor loses contact with the baby’s skin or gets too close to the Birthing Center exits, an alarm will sound.

Call the Birthing Center Education Office at (828) 262-4100 with any questions. 

Telehealth Video Visits

Telehealth Video Visits

Telehealth Video Visits

Healthcare from the comfort of your home

1. Request an appointment

Call the practice or request an appointment online and let them know you’d like to schedule a telehealth appointment.​

2. Check Internet & Camera

You need an email address, a strong internet signal, and a computer or mobile device with a camera and microphone.


3. Log on

A few minutes before your appointment time, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to join. No special apps needed!

Visit with your provider from your computer or mobile device

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.

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

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?

Appalachian Regional Medical Associates

Cannon Memorial Hospital

Watauga Medical Center



For a time like this, telehealth a great way to communicate with patients while abiding by social distancing guidelines. There are also instances where telehealth makes sense in general, such as reviewing MRI results.

Dr. Steven Anderson

Orthopedic Surgeon, AppOrtho

Telehealth has helped bridge the gaps that would occur otherwise with social distancing. It’s appropriate for things like medication follow up, contraception counseling, procreative counseling, STD prevention and exposure counseling, postpartum depression and postoperative visits with incision checks.

Dr. Lynda Gioia-Flynt

Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Harmony Center for Women

The telehealth visits felt more personal than I anticipated, and I was able to really connect with my patients well through the platform. This option is safer for patient as well as staff, and patients have been happy with the visits.

Dr. Cecilia Grasinger

Gynecologist, Davant Medical Clinic

Telehealth Consent for Appalachian Regional Medical Associates

Before we begin your telehealth consultation, please read the items below and let your provider know if you consent to move forward with the visit.

1. This telehealth service will be similar to a standard medical office visit. Interactive video technology will allow you to communicate with a medical provider on your computer or mobile device. We will make every effort to deliver care equivalent to in-person patient to provider contact. In some cases, an in-person visit may still be necessary.

2. All reasonable and appropriate efforts have been made to eliminate any confidentiality risks associated with telemedicine services. There is a possibility that during the consultation you may experience interruptions, unauthorized access, and/or technical difficulties. If we have any technical issues, nonmedical personnel may be present during your visit to aid in video transmission.

3. If necessary, video, audio, and/or digital photographs may be recorded during the telemedicine consultation visit.

4. You may withdraw consent to this telemedicine consultation at any time, and request an in-person visit, without affecting your right to future care or treatment.

5. Depending on your insurance carrier, this telemedicine consultation may be covered by insurance as if it were an in-office visit. You are responsible for any portion of your charges remaining unpaid by your insurance company, this includes non-covered services, co-insurance, co-payments and deductibles. If your insurance does not pay within 90 days, you will be billed for the full balance.

Click here for more information about our privacy policy and your health information >

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.



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.


Learn more about diabetes at