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Community Health Needs Assessment

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) conducted a community health needs assessment (CHNA) and developed an implementation strategy to address the health needs identified in the CHNA. ARHS helmed the assessment process with assistance provided by Watauga, Avery, and Ashe Counties.

Data was collected from residents through surveys administered throughout the three counties, and interviews were conducted with key community leaders. This dual set of primary data was strengthened with secondary data from the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics and County Health Rankings to provide a clear picture of the health issues affecting ARHS’s community.


Latino Health Program

The Latino Health Program of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System seeks to improve the health and well-being of Latinos in Watauga and Avery counties through increased access to care, health education, and other enabling services.

The Latino Health Program was established in 2012 through a grant from the North Carolina Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHHD). Our vision is to improve the health of the local Latino population; specifically, the program focuses on improving patients’ management and understanding of their own health in order to prevent illness and to manage current illnesses.

Latinos are disproportionately affected by certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and overweight/obesity. They may also experience difficulty accessing health services due to language, transportation, cultural and financial barriers.

The Latino Health Program aims to address these health concerns and barriers by connecting with the local population, providing a variety of services including referrals to existing medical providers, enabling services (such as interpretation and transportation to medical appointments), care coordination, health education and community outreach.

Through these services we hope to address health disparities in our community, and ultimately make our community a healthier place to live.

For more information or to refer a patient to the Latino Health Program’s services, please call (828) 268-8967.

Appalachian Healthcare Project

Appalachian Healthcare Project

Appalachian Healthcare Project is a collaborative effort among the medical community to provide healthcare for low income, uninsured residents of Watauga and Avery Counties.

The project enrolls persons who meet program guidelines and coordinates healthcare on the individual’s behalf. Coordination of healthcare includes: managing referrals to specialists, helping patients get access to medications, and patient case management. Medical providers donate much needed care to individuals who qualify.

Program Guidelines


Appalachian Healthcare Project strives to help individuals who meet the following program guidelines:

  1. Have an approval letter of 100% financial assistance from ARHS.
  2. Be a resident of Watauga or Avery County for the past 60 days.
  3. Have NO access to health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Worker’s Comp ,VA Benefits, No coverage through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), third party payments or be covered under financial assistance through the hospital system
  4. You must have a chronic, on-going medical problem
  5. You must have a participating primary care physician within Avery or Watauga County


Steps to Enroll in the Appalachian Healthcare Project


  1. Apply for financial assistance. Contact Financial Assistance at (828) 262-4110 for information and to schedule an appointment.
  2. After receiving approval letter from Financial Assistance, contact Appalachian Healthcare Project to schedule an appointment for eligibility into the program.  Avery County residents please call (828) 737-7725. Watauga County residents please call (828) 268-8955. You must have received 100% financial assistance to be eligible for the program.


What to bring with you for the Appalachian Healthcare Project eligibility appointment


  • All bottles or other packaging for medicines which you are currently prescribed
  • A current North Carolina driver’s license or photo identification showing your current address
  • Approval letter for 100% Financial Assistance


If you do not meet all of the above requirements, there still may be some programs that can help you to pay for doctor’s visits and medicines. Contact the Department of Social Services about federal programs (Medicaid, Medicare) or drug company programs to help pay for medicines.

Appalachian Healthcare Project is a cooperation of doctors in Watauga and Avery County, Watauga Medical Center, Cannon Hospital, area pharmacies, DayMark Recovery Services, Watauga and Avery County Health departments, along with other allied health providers. Please contact us if you have more questions about our services.