Boone NC

AppUrgent Care Center Receives Certified Urgent Care Designation from the Urgent Care Association of America

AppUrgent Care Center

AppUrgent Care Center

AppUrgent Care Center has received the Certified Urgent Care – Category I designation, which distinguishes it as a true urgent care center staffed by board certified licensed physicians. The clinic provides patients with walk-in, extended-hour medical attention with licensed providers for a large scope of medical conditions and has met all of the Urgent Care Association of America’s established criteria.

“With the ever changing healthcare environment, it is extremely important for patients to understand their treatment options,” said LaRaye Rudicile, RN, Operations Manager for AppUrgent Care. “Urgent care is a convenient and viable option for medical conditions that cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with a primary care physician.

CUC logoAppUrgent Care Center, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, provides convenient, walk-in care to patients with non-life threatening illness or injury such as sore throats, strains, sprains, fever, flu, cuts and other conditions that do not require a visit to the emergency room. Staffed by board certified physicians, AppUrgent Care fills the gap between primary care and emergency room care, offering increased convenience and cost savings. The facility also offers visitors the opportunity to seek care while remaining close to their leisure activities.

With its certification, AppUrgent Care Center and the Urgent Care Association of America demonstrate their commitment toward providing patients with access to appropriate levels of care.

Dr. Amor and Dr. Stafford

Dr. Amor and Dr. Stafford

AppUrgent Care, located at 2146 Blowing Rock Road in Boone, NC, is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

For more information, visit or call (828) 265-5505.

Surgery Brings NFL Brothers Closer Together

When it comes to relationships, few are stronger than those established by blood and rooted in football. For California natives, Kaelin, 25, and older brother Kevin Burnett, 31, making it into the NFL was a goal they both worked toward since childhood. So, ending up on the same NFL team, the Oakland Raiders, in 2013 was a dream come true.

The dream was threatened, however, after Kaelin, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker tore his meniscus during a 2014 preseason practice. Disappointed and eager to return to the field he asked his older brother, a 10-year NFL veteran, for advice.

“Kevin recommended that I ask Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Evan Ekman to take a look at my knee. I learned that Dr. Ekman had preformed several surgeries on my brother over the last decade which has allowed him to continue to play on Sundays,” said Kaelin. “So, with my agent’s blessing, I decided to travel across the country (Oakland, Calif. to Boone, N.C.) to have this highly recommended surgeon take care of my injury.”

Kevin Burnett, Kaelin Burnett and Dr. Evan Ekman

Kevin Burnett, Kaelin Burnett and Dr. Evan Ekman

Dr. Evan Ekman is the Medical Director of Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center (AppOrtho), in Boone, N.C. The practice is an extension of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), which proudly serves patients in Western, N.C. and Eastern, Tenn. AppOrtho is also the official sports medicine provider for Appalachian State University Athletics.

After flying into Charlotte, with Kevin at his side for support, the brothers enjoyed their scenic medically inspired commute to the Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. Upon reviewing Kaelin’s MRI, Dr. Ekman explained that he could repair the torn meniscus by performing a Knee Arthroscopy with a Partial Lateral Meniscectomy. This minimally invasive procedure would allow Kaelin to return with full functionality to the gridiron this season. The surgery was scheduled two days later and conducted in one of Watauga Medical Center’s newly renovated and state-of-the-art operating rooms.

Dr. Ekman began the procedure by placing an arthroscope inside one of two tiny pinhole incisions made in the knee. The camera projected high definition footage from inside the knee onto three large screen monitors suspended around the operating table. With clear visibility, he was able to use the other pinhole to insert a trimmer and correct the torn meniscus without complication.

At the conclusion of the twenty minute outpatient procedure, Kaelin was pleasantly surprised to discover that he was able to maneuver, pain free, within the hour. He is scheduled to participate in a short-term rehabilitation program and be NFL ready in a matter of days.

“As always, my big brother laid the blueprint and I’m glad I followed his recommendation,” said Kaelin with a grin.

“Surgery, like every other big decision in a person’s life, is only agreed to when the patient feels a great deal of trust has been established.” said Dr. Ekman. “It is always rewarding to be able to provide care, based on that trust, for multiple members of one family.”

For more information about the Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, call 828-386-BONE or visit


July is National Blueberry Month, and we think that is definitely something worth celebrating! Whether you like your blueberries in muffins, pies, or fruit salads, or you just pop them in your mouth for a fast and easy snack, no matter how you eat them there’s no denying this little berry is a super food.blueberries

According to, just one cup of blueberries will give you:

  • 14% of the recommended daily dose of fiber
  • 25% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C

Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants, those compounds that help boost your immune system, and they contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and might even attack cancer-causing free radicals. You get all of this for less than 100 calories!

Of course, you can get blueberries year round at the supermarket. But now is the perfect time to find fresh, North Carolina-grown blueberries practically in your own backyard. Visit the Avery County Farmers Market, Watauga County Farmers Market or Blowing Rock Farmers Market to find fresh-picked berries from local farms, and mix them up with blackberries and raspberries. Or make an adventure out of it and go pick your own! You can find farms across the state on the Pick Your Own website. Be sure to call before you go to confirm blueberries are available for picking.

Once you’ve got your blueberries, it’s time to start eating! Here are a few ways to incorporate them into your daily diet:

  • Sprinkle blueberries on cereal, yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast
  • Add them to your favorite smoothie recipe
  • Mix blueberries into any fruit salad or green salad
  • Make a patriotic dessert with strawberries, blueberries and Cool Whip topping on a low-fat pound cake

Find more recipes from the North Carolina Blueberry Council.

Make the most of National Blueberry Month, and incorporate these and other healthy habits into your diet for better health!

Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room: Making the Decision

AppUrgent Care Center

AppUrgent Care Center

The following scenarios are fictitious and not based on real people.

It’s 5:30 on a Wednesday evening. Sue has just picked up her kindergartener Billy from after-school care and he tells her his ear has been hurting all day. When they get home she checks his temperature, and isn’t surprised when she sees he has a fever, a temperature of 103 degrees. He’s had two ear infections already this winter, this must be another one. If they can get him antibiotics soon, he might only miss one day of school. This is a perfect opportunity to visit the AppUrgent Care Centeropen weekdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday night at 2 a.m., Joe wakes up with a gripping pain in his chest. Without thinking twice, his wife Carol calls 911 and Joe is transported to the emergency room at Watauga Medical Centerwhere he is immediately taken back and taken through the appropriate tests. It turns out he had a minor heart attack, and Carol’s quick trip to the ER might have saved his life.

Emergency Department Entrance at Watauga Medical Center

Emergency Department Entrance at Watauga Medical Center

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is fortunate to be able to provide both emergency services and urgent care services for people in our communities. But for many people, it is hard to know where to go. The examples above are two very black and white cases, but there are many more that are not that clear cut. Overall, you can feel safe in making decisions for your family by using the following guidelines.

Urgent Care Centers

  • Sprains and broken bones
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Ear infections, cough, or sore throat
  • Animal bites
  • Cuts or minor laceration repairs
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Emergency Centers

Emergency Department Entrance at Cannon Memorial Department

Emergency Department Entrance at Cannon Memorial Department

  • Chest pain
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Severe/sudden pain
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Head injury
  • Difficulty Breathing

The rule of thumb is that emergency centers are equipped to treat severe and life-threatening illnesses and conditions. The doctors and medical staff have been trained in these areas and have the appropriate equipment and labs to run tests and prescribe medicine to treat traumas in the best possible manner.

Urgent care centers, on the other hand, can often be confused with emergency departments because they are also a place where you can come on a walk-in basis. But they are set up for less severe illnesses and injuries. The extended and weekend hours make them an appropriate place to go for things that you would normally visit your primary care physician for, but can’t because it’s after hours. They are also equipped to handle sprains and broken bones and other minor injuries. In most cases it’s cheaper and faster to visit the urgent care than the emergency room!

Understanding the differences and the types of services each provide will help you be able to plan where to go when the moment of need arises. And if there’s any doubt, call your primary care physician to ask which is the best place to go for your illness or injury.

For more information about AppUrgent Care Center (2146 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, NC 28607), visit

For more information about the Emergency Department at Watauga Medical Center (336 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC 28607) and Cannon Memorial Hospital (434 Hospital Drive, Linville, NC 28646), visit…





Celebrating Cancer Survivors

Through our cancer services, we have the opportunity to meet with and talk to many people at different stages of their cancer journey, from diagnosis through to survival. But a recent conversation with one patient stands out. The patient was coming in for her last radiation treatment, and was congratulated by the staff for making it through the treatments and praised for the strength she had shown through it all. Needless to say, the staff were all caught off guard when she responded, “I am not sure how I feel about this being my last treatment. Cancer has become a part of who I am, and I think I will miss it.”

The response spoke volumes about what cancer patients go through. This young woman felt she was no longer a carefree 30-something. She was now a person who had grappled with death, and had won, for now. And not only that, but she would always live with the fear that the cancer could return. And what would the results be next time?

Cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their caregivers and loved ones have gone through a life experience that other people cannot fully understand. It is that very experience that is celebrated and recognized on June 1 each year, Cancer Survivor’s Day. For 27 years, this day has been set aside to raise awareness of cancer prevention tools and educate the public. It’s also an opportunity to hold events and activities that bring cancer survivor’s together to connect with each other and celebrate milestones, as well as to recognize the supporters and loved ones who have been touched by someone with cancer.

Luckily, the support found on Cancer Survivor’s Day is not for one day only. Events like Relay for Life bring together cancer survivors and their loved ones to celebrate their successes while raising money for cancer research to help even more people become survivors. You can be a part of two great events in our area, the Relay for Life at Watauga High School on June 20, and the Relay for Life at Avery High School on July 25.

cancer_center2006Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center offers a range of services for cancer survivors through the Avery County Cancer Resource Center and the Cancer Resource Alliance. Support groups, social counseling, pastoral care, exercise and wellness programs and many other services help cancer survivors through their journey from diagnosis and treatment to living as a cancer survivor.

Whether you are battling cancer now or have in the past and are living as a cancer survivor, remember, you are not alone. We are here for you.

For more information about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, call (828) 262-4342 or (828) 262-4332.