Watauga Medical Center
In 2010, when Eggers went for routine blood work, he was advised to take a stress test. The results were abnormal, so he was sent to Charlotte to have a diagnostic procedure known as a heart catheterization and found an artery that was 85% blocked. A stent was placed successfully.
In December of 2012, Eggers was back at The Cardiology Center for a routine baseline stress test that is typical a year or more after a procedure. Abnormal results and his previous stent warranted a closer look. Eggers was scheduled for a diagnostic heart catheterization or heart cath the very next day. However, this time it was performed in Boone, by cardiologist, Dr. Paul Vignola.
“I like Dr. Vignola because he is very personable and explains everything to you. He respects your time and doesn’t piddle around with you. He makes sure you are well taken care of and then he is ready to move on and help someone else,” said Eggers with a smile.
Eggers shared that Dr. Vignola not only prepared him for the procedures, but helped reassure his wife and family with several personal calls during the procedure. Dr. Vignola explained the process in a very clear and concise manner. The first step is to perform a diagnostic heart cath to find out if there is a serious blockage. If there are no serious blockages or if the blockage can be treated with medication, the procedure stops. However, if it is determined during the diagnostic heart cath that there is a critical blockage, similar to the one Eggers had previously, then the procedure proceeds with repairing the blockage, if safe to do so.
“When I was in Charlotte, a few years ago, I felt more like a number as opposed to a person who was stuck lying on a gurney for hours waiting for my catheter procedure to be done,” said Eggers. “However, having this procedure at Watauga Medical Center was quite different. You are close to home, you are familiar with the hospital, you are treated with the utmost care by the staff, and they are as well trained and certified as the staff you will find down the mountain.”
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System began offering diagnostic catheterizations and angioplasty stents in November 2012. Since that time, more than 246 diagnostic heart catheterizations have been performed and 84 of those patients received stents with no serious complications.
“In 2012 when we were developing our Cardiology Service Line, the current literature demonstrated that percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), was safe and effective in rural areas without cardiovascular surgical capabilities,” said Kim Bianca, Sr. VP of Clinical and Outpatient Service Lines for ARHS. “Therefore in keeping with the American College of Cardiology guidelines we moved forward with the vision to provide this life saving program for the High Country. Thanks to the support of our CEO, Richard Sparks, our Board of Trustees and our medical staff, we have very successful interventional cardiac services here in Boone.”
“I have been a doctor for 43 years in a variety of large cities, however, here in the High Country is the first time I can honestly say I feel like I am really taking care of my friends and neighbors,” Vignola continued.
After recovering from his surgery, Eggers was advised to participate in the Cardiac Rehabilitation program offered at the Wellness Center and led by Dr. Jeff Soukup, PhD, CES and Kathleen Collins RN, along with students from Appalachian State University.
Eggers admitted the scariest part of the whole process was the looming lifestyle change. Known by his friends and family as the man who does not slow down, he knew it was time to trust the Lord and his doctor with some changes in his diet, exercise and smoking habit.
“You have to trust in the Lord when he opens doors,” said Eggers. The Cardiac Rehabilitation program “has helped me immensely with my recovery and it has increased by endurance level. Everyone is supportive and the interaction with other heart and pulmonary patients is very motivating.”
With only a few more weeks until he graduates from the Cardiac Rehabilitation program, Eggers looks forward to spending more time with his family, landscaping, and playing golf and much less time worrying about his health thanks to the team of providers at The Cardiology Center.
“We are very blessed to have such a strong cardiology center available to us in the High Country,” said Eggers. “I would recommend speaking with Dr. Vignola before anyone considers having a cath or stent procedure off of the mountain.”
For more information about the Cardiology Center, call (828)-264-9664 or visit www.apprhs.org/cardiology-center.
- Customized treatment programs to improve one’s ability to perform daily activities
- Comprehensive home and job site evaluations with adaptation recommendations
- Performance skills assessments and treatment
- Adaptive equipment recommendations and usage training
- Guidance to family members and caregivers.
For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit www.apprhs.org or call The Rehabilitation Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System in Boone at (828) 268-9043; in Linville at (828) 737-7520; at Watauga Medical Center Inpatient OT (828) 262-4173; or at Blowing Rock Hospital (828) 295-3136.
To find out more about occupational therapy and how it might help you, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Web site, www.aota.org.
Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is focused on honoring those who provide extraordinary service through volunteerism. The week is endorsed by the President and Congress, governors, mayors, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.
In 2012, ARHS had 240 volunteers who served in 45 different job services for a total of 27,551 hours. A few of the volunteer services include, working in the activity garden, visiting patients, pastoral services, community outings, hospitality, gift shop and blood drives.
“I consider all of these amazing volunteers to be the real heart beat of our system,” said Sallie Woodring, ARHS Director of Volunteer Services and Career Pathways. “Every day they bring to our hospitals and affiliates within ARHS all of their many talents to share with our patients, staff and visitors.”
ARHS is hosting events at each hospital within the system to honor its dedicated volunteers. On Monday, April 22 Blowing Rock Hospital is providing an appreciation luncheon for its volunteers. Cannon Memorial Hospital is presenting a volunteer potluck on Thursday, April 25 and Watauga Medical Center is honoring its volunteers on Wednesday, May 8.
“They do what they do just to make a difference,” said Woodring. “Their gifts of time, talent and compassion cannot be measured monetarily but their impact can be seen and felt throughout our organization.”
For more information on volunteering at ARHS please contact Woodring at (828) 737-7538 or via email at email@example.com.
“Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has PTs and PTAs restoring quality of life all across our healthcare system”, says Jeanne Bradshaw, PT, Executive Director of Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.
If you are one of many people who experience low back pain, for example, a physical therapist can help. If you have had a running injury or want to maintain your ability to run as you age, a physical therapist can help. If you are experiencing impairments from Bell palsy, diabetes, frozen shoulder, stroke, knee replacement or pelvic pain, to name but a few conditions, a physical therapist can help.
“Physical Therapy is crucial to recovery for patients in many settings, including Home Health, Skilled Nursing, the Wellness Center – THRIVE program and Hospital Inpatient and Outpatient care” says Bradshaw. “Losing your ability to move because of pain or problems with balance, strength or range of motion, significantly impact a person’s independence and quality of life.”
ARHS is constantly looking at ways to improve care. Currently, a team of outpatient therapists at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital are working together to implement new evidence-based guidelines for low back pain, in preparation for a new fast-access back pain program.
“We are interested in the ways that early therapy intervention can reduce costs of care,” says Bradshaw.
In many cases, a physical therapist can work to manage or eliminate pain without medication and its side effects. Physical therapy may even be an alternative to surgery, in many cases. A physical therapist will examine you and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote your ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. If you are looking for an evidence-based, cost-effective, conservative approach to health care, then a physical therapist may be right for you.
Physical therapists are required to complete a graduate degree – either a master’s or clinical doctorate – from an accredited education program and pass a state-administered national exam before practicing. By 2015, all physical therapists will graduate with a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree.
To learn more about physical therapy and other rehabilitation therapies available through Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit www.apprhs.org/rehab-therapy.
A total of 22 participants including officers from Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, and Appalachian State University Police Department completed Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) at Watauga Medical Center the week of April 30 thru May 4, 2012. Other participants were telecommunicators from ASU and a Chaplain with Avery County Sheriff’s Office.
CIT is an intensive 40-hour training curriculum that educates officers about a variety of mental illnesses, addictive diseases and developmental disabilities. Officers learn how to better respond to an individual in a mental health crisis and help those individuals receive appropriate care. The objectives of the training were to increase law enforcement’s knowledge about mental illness; to learn about their community resources; to learn how to connect mental health clients to the appropriate services and to avoid incarceration and involuntary commitments when appropriate.
The CIT program is a community based collaborative between consumers, families, the Mental Health Local Management Entity,, law enforcement agencies, mental health providers, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) consumer advocacy organization, the community college, and the medical community.
Law enforcement officers are frequently first responders to people in crisis. Therefore, CIT training facilitates ongoing collaboration between law enforcement and the mental health community. CIT is designed to assist law enforcement officers who respond to incidents involving people experiencing a crisis. Police officers receive training on a variety of topics, including an Overview of Mental Health, Geriatrics, Substance Abuse/Co-Occurring Disorders, Special Concerns with Adolescents, Mental Health Commitment Process, Personality Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Autism, Suicide, Trauma and its aftermath, Homelessness Crisis Intervention and De-escalation, site visits, and hands on exercises.
The training received in this course will help our community’s law enforcement officers protect themselves in encounters with consumers suffering from mental illness and the knowledge learned will result in safer encounters for our citizens with mental illness.
CIT Roster (April 30, 2012 – May 4, 2012)
- Sergeant Todd Lyons
- Deputy William Gilliam
- Deputy Gerald Townsend
- Lieutenant Donnie Goodman
- Senior Patrol Officer Dennis O’Neal
- Patrol Officer James Long
- Senior Patrol Officer Tylor Greene
- Patrol Officer Jason Reid
- Senior Patrol Officer Michael Baker
- Patrol Officer Dennis Fletcher
- Support Services Manager Sandra Evans
- Telecommunications Supervisor Angela Stewart
- K9 Deputy Casey Lee
- Deputy Timothy Clawson
- Deputy Jack McCloud
- Deputy Daniel Jones
- Deputy Ralph Coffey
- Chaplain Ron Greene
- Deputy Timothy Rhoades
- Deputy Thomas Cheek
- Sergeant Mary Carrero
- Patrol Officer Dustin Clark
The Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellows Program builds future leaders who will make a difference in the health of rural and other underserved communities in North Carolina. The Fellowship supports the work of outstanding individuals early in their careers who share Jim Bernstein’s vision, commitment and passion for access to respectful and effective care, and local ownership of health care by the communities it serves.
During the Fellowship, Fellows are paired with mentors, health care leaders and local state agencies, university programs, non-profit organizations and community groups to improve access to quality health care. Fellows are expected to share their experiences with their employers, peers, and rural health and primary care organizations.
“I’m very excited to be chosen as a Bernstein Fellow,” shared Lipscomb. “I am planning to create a sustainable community-based behavioral intervention for migrant workers through a collaboration with the local behavioral health community and graduate programs, while utilizing public health models.”
The Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellowships are awarded annually to health professionals early in their careers who are working in rural and underserved North Carolina communities. A key feature of the Fellowship is to design, implement and evaluate a community-based project in collaboration with the community to be served. Funding for the Fellowship is provided by the Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Fund, which raises funds through the Annual Jim Bernstein Dinner.
Sparks named Mr. Chuck Mantooth as President of Watauga Medical Center in Boone. In addition to this new responsibility, Mr. Mantooth will remain President of Appalachian Regional Medical Associates (ARMA), ARHS’ physician practice management division, and CEO of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville.
This change aligns Watauga Medical Center, Cannon Memorial Hospital and ARMA under a new division known as “Hospital and Physician Group”. According to Sparks, “The alignment of these three entities is critical for a successful implementation of the upcoming 2013-15 ARHS Strategic Plan”.
Mantooth has served the healthcare system for over 20 years in a variety of roles, most recently as President of ARMA and President and CEO of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville. While Mantooth will retain the role of CEO of Cannon Memorial Hospital, he will welcome Avery County native Carmen Lacey, MSN, RN, in as President of Cannon Memorial Hospital. Ms. Lacey has worked in healthcare in Avery County for over 25 years. Her first role was as a staff nurse at Sloop Memorial Hospital and she has filled various leadership roles at Cannon Memorial Hospital over the years, most recently serving as Director of Patient Care Services.
Additional changes to the administrative structure include Tim Ford, President & CEO of Blowing Rock Hospital taking on additional duties as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, which will focus on Government Relations, Legal Services, Corporate Compliance and Planning.
Claire Cline, MPH, RN, Senior Vice President Patient Care Services, who manages the majority of inpatient services for ARHS, will take on additional duties of management of the ARHS Pharmacy. Kim Bianca, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Clinical & Outpatient Service Lines will enhance her management of ARHS service lines by adding Lab and Imaging to her division.
“These organizational changes will better position ARHS’ Senior Leadership Team to address current issues and move the healthcare system into the future,” Sparks went on to state.
Watauga Medical Center Laboratory and Pathology Receive Accreditation from College of American Pathologists
The Laboratory and Pathology Departments of Watauga Medical Center consistently maintain accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). We are pleased to announce that based on the results of a recent onsite inspection, the Watauga Medical Center Laboratory and Pathology Departments were once again awarded accreditation by CAP.
The laboratory’s director, Steven J. Bredehoeft, MD, MPH, was advised of this national recognition and congratulated for the excellence of the services being provided.
“Dr. Bredhoeft, Dr. Brent Hall and I could not be more pleased with the CAP survey results. The results are the reflection of dedicated staff who are committed to providing excellent patient care,” said Beth Miller, ARHS Administrative Director of Laboratory Services. “Each member of our laboratory and pathology services team works tirelessly to ensure we meet and exceed our regulatory requirements.”
Watauga Medical Center’s Laboratory and Pathology Departments share this designation with more than 7,000 CAP-accredited laboratories worldwide. The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960′s, is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government’s own inspection program.
During the CAP accreditation process, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, as well as the laboratory’s equipment, facilities, safety program and record, in addition to the overall management of the laboratory. This stringent inspection program is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients.
To learn more about ARHS laboratory services, visit https://www.apprhs.org/laboratory.
More information about CAP can be found at www.cap.org.
- HealthGrades Study: 80% of Patients Treated at Best-Performing Hospitals Would Definitely Recommend Them to Friends, Family -
For the fourth straight year, Watauga Medical Center has received the Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ from HealthGrades. This distinction ranks Watauga Medical Center among the top 10% of hospitals nationwide based on an analysis of patient satisfaction data for 3,797 U.S. hospitals. In addition to the Overall Patient Experience Award, HealthGrades also named Watauga Medical Center among the top 5% in the U.S. for Overall Pulmonary Services in 2012.
“This is something for the community, the patients and the staff to be very proud of,” said Richard Sparks, President & CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, “Earning positive feedback from our patients is one of the highest honors.”
HealthGrades analyzed HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) hospital survey data obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and identified those hospitals performing in the top 10% in the nation for patient satisfaction, based on survey responses from patients treated at those facilities. Hospitals had to meet bed size, survey-response size, and clinical-quality thresholds in order to be eligible for the award.
When making healthcare decisions, patients consider not only the outcome of a procedure or treatment, but the kind of experience they can expect to have at a hospital. A recent McKinsey & Co. study found that 20% of a patient’s choice is based on a hospital’s clinical reputation and 41% of patients consider patient experience measures to be an important factor in choosing a hospital. This is in sharp contrast to the conventional wisdom that such considerations are much less important.
According to HealthGrades, 80% of patients treated at the nation’s best-performing hospitals would definitely recommend the hospital compared to only 55% of patients who received care from the poorest-performing hospitals.
The more information consumers have about the health care choices available to them, the more confident they can be in selecting the best medical care for themselves and their loved ones. The Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ is a distinction generated by patients for patients. Information on award recipients and the ratings methodology is available, free to the public, at www.healthgrades.com.
“It’s clear that patients are driving higher quality in our nation’s hospitals,” said Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades Vice President of clinical quality programs. “Hospitals like Watauga Medical Center take HCAHPS survey results very seriously and invest time and resources to ensure each patient’s experience is the best possible. This is yet another example of how transparency in health care drives quality.”
When compared to hospitals performing in the bottom 10% for patient satisfaction, HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ recipient hospitals are attributed with the following:
- 45% more patients gave the hospital an overall rating of a 9 or a 10 (10 being the highest possible)
- 34% more patients responded that they always received help from staff quickly
- 24% more patients reported that the staff always explained their medications to them prior to administering them
- 19% more patients felt their pain was always well controlled
- 45% more patients reported that they would definitely recommend the hospital to their family or friends.
About Watauga Medical Center
Watauga Medical Center, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, is fully accredited by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and licensed as a 117-bed regional referral medical complex, offering both primary and secondary acute and specialty care. In addition to the main hospital, the campus of the medical center includes The Cardiology Center of ARHS, The Sleep Center of ARHS and the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, offering both radiation and chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. The Cancer Center is recognized as an approved Community Cancer Care Center by the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Cancer.
Other units are: The Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, The Rehabilitation Center, The Wound Care Center, ARHS Home Health, which provides a full range of home care services, Appalachian Regional Pain Clinic, and a branch of the Northwest Area Health Education Center.
Watauga Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for certification as a Primary Stroke Center.
HealthGrades is America’s most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes. HealthGrades online properties are the nation’s leading destination for physician search and empower more than 200 million consumers annually to make informed health care decisions.
Editor’s note: A full copy of HealthGrades Patient Experience report is available at www.healthgrades.com.
Watauga Medical Center is one of 112 hospitals chosen by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN®) to participate in an innovative, multi-state study to evaluate safety and quality outcomes in nurse transition to practice programs. The NCSBN Transition to Practice Study (TTPS) will follow newly licensed registered nurses (RNs) hired to work in Watauga Medical Center and other hospital settings in Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina during their first year of employment.
The TTPS will compare patient outcomes in organizations that use the NCSBN transition model with those organizations that use their own methods of transition. This groundbreaking study is the only one of its kind to randomly assign sites to either a standardized transition to practice model or to a control group. The TTPS will also be the first to analyze actual patient outcomes in programs that transition new nurses to practice. While previous studies of transition programs have looked at retention rates, new nurse satisfaction, preceptor satisfaction, and nurse’s perceptions of competence and confidence, prior research has not examined actual patient outcomes.
“It is exciting to have the opportunity to contribute to this innovative nursing practice study,” shared Claire Cline, Vice President of Patient Care Services for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Successful transition to practice for our new graduate RN’s is an important goal for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Being able to quantify this successful transition through review of patient outcomes is significant to the professional practice of nursing.”
The site coordinator for Watauga Medical Center, Eula Johnson, is responsible for submitting data electronically to study researchers at NCSBN. The data collected will measure actual patient outcomes such as infection rates, patient falls, patient satisfaction, as well as new nurse competencies, job satisfaction and job stress. The ultimate goal of the site coordinator is to help ensure the integrity of the study by maintaining compliance with study protocol.
Phase I of the TTPS will run from July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012. The second phase of the study will begin in April 2012. It will follow the same study protocol as Phase I, but will incorporate newly hired registered nurses (RNs) who work in settings other than hospitals (such as long-term care, community and correctional facilities, and schools) and the addition of newly licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) who work in all health care settings. Once both phases of the study have concluded, the safety and quality outcomes of the control group along with those of the study group will be compared.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization whose members include the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are also seven associate members. Mission: NCSBN provides education, service and evidence-based research through collaborative leadership to promote regulatory excellence for patient safety and public protection.