Watauga Medical Center earns 4-star rating for quality

Boone, NC (January 8, 2017) – Watauga Medical Center recently received an above average 4-star rating for its quality of patient care services from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) scores more than 4,000 hospitals across the country using a Hospital Compare rating system ranging from 1 to 5 stars (5 being the best). The CMS ratings are publically available on the Hospital Compare website and are intended to help consumers more easily decide between hospitals in their area.

CMS generates the overall hospital star rating on a quarterly basis by combining multiple dimensions of quality into a single summary score. The quality rating categories include patient experience, timely and effective care, complications and death rate, readmission rate, use of medical imaging and value of care. In 2017, the national average was 3-stars.

“Receiving a 4-star rating for quality exemplifies Watauga Medical Center’s unwavering commitment to provide compassionate and quality care in this community,” said Chuck Mantooth, President and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.

The national CMS 4-star recognition comes on the heels of Watauga Medical Center’s most recent “A” safety grade from Leapfrog, a national nonprofit healthcare ratings organization. Watauga Medical Center was one of 832 hospitals across the country awarded an “A” for its commitment to keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S.

To view Watauga Medical Center’s rating, visit https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare.

For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visit apprhs.org.

Local 11-year-old starts a beary special program at Watauga Medical Center

Few things in life can seem scarier than the thought of surgery – especially for an 11-year-old. After her tonsillectomy at Watauga Medical Center, Lula Bovino awoke last December to find a teddy bear nestled beside her in the recovery room. This unexpected companion surprised and encouraged both Lula and her mother Natalie, a Registered Nurse in Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s (ARHS) Anesthesia Department.

Natalie’s supervisor and hospital Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Kevin Henson, assisted with the surgery. He was also the one who surprised Lula with the teddy bear.

“My mom did a good job of telling me what to expect beforehand, but I was still scared when I woke up from surgery,” said Lula. “Then I saw the bear sitting beside me and I felt safe.”

Bear in mind

A few days later, Lula asked her mother if she could start her own teddy bear program at the hospital. “I may not be old enough to help mom in the operating room,” she said. “But it is certainly one way I can help other kids feel better or at least more at ease.”

“The idea was met with tremendous enthusiasm from both the hospital and the community,” said Natalie. “We held our first teddy bear fundraiser a few weeks ago at our church. I offered blood pressure checks while Lula worked the bear donation table. Needless to say, it was a big success.”

The Bovino family also posted an ad on Amazon. Their Web page allows donors to easily shop for and contribute bears to the cause. After the bears are received, Lula and Natalie carefully outfit each teddy bear with a pair of scrubs and a tag that reads ‘You’re Beary Special to us at Watauga Medical Center’. To date, more than 40 children have received a teddy bear from Lula’s teddy bear program.

Bare necessities

Lula is a 6th grade student at Blowing Rock Elementary School with a passion for singing in her church choir and playing any instrument she can get her hands on. Natalie works full-time at Watauga Medical Center and is currently studying to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Despite their busy schedules, they reconnect in the evenings for special mom and daughter strolls around Bass Lake in Blowing Rock, NC. On these walks, they often skip rocks, play hide-and-seek and quiz each other with school related flash cards. Natalie also uses this time to tell her daughter if a teddy bear had been handed out that day at work. Lula, who has never witnessed a teddy bear patient delivery, loves to hear about the recipient’s reaction and whether or not it made a difference. It always makes a difference.

“I think my mom is a great nurse and an amazing influence on my life,” said Lula. “No matter what, she always makes the best out of all situations and I admire her for that.”

“Words cannot describe how proud and grateful I am to be Lula’s mom,” said Natalie. “Lula is so wise to recognize that sometimes, great big bear hugs are all we really need.”

For more information about how you can contribute to Lula’s teddy bear program click here.

Join Appalachian Regional Healthcare for Pink Day


Put on your pink and join Appalachian Regional Healthcare System for Pink Day. On Friday, October 16, employees of Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville and Watauga Medical Center in Boone, gather to help raise awareness about Breast Cancer. Disciplines from all over the healthcare system, as well as organizations outside the system, come together to offer valuable information about services and resources, amazing food, live music, prizes and uplifting testimonies from breast cancer survivors.

In an effort to help raise money for the Wilma Redmond Fund, which helps fund mammograms and the Cancer Emergency Fund, for cancer patients, Doc’s Rocks has donated several Rose Quartz jewelry pieces, for which raffle tickets will be sold. Click here to see the raffle items.

Join on Friday, October 16 at either or both of the following locations:

Cannon Memorial Hospital
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
(Program is from 10:30 am- 11:00 am)

Watauga Medical Center
1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
(Program is from 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm)

Watauga Medical Center’s Inaugural Lighting of the Tree

Watauga Medical Center Tree Lighting

Inaugural Lighting of the Tree
December 4, 2014
6 pm – 7 pm
Watauga Medical Center Auditorium
336 Deerfield Road • Boone, NC

To Attend the Inaugural Lighting of the Tree:
Please visit Watauga Medical Center’s auditorium atrium on Thursday, December 4th from 6 pm-7pm for a brief ceremony. Enjoy the first lighting of the tree, refreshments, live music and share in fellowship with Cancer Center staff, neighbors and friends.

Decorated trees will be on display in the auditorium and the Cancer Center lobby until January 5, 2015.

Elegant ivory porcelain ornaments with navy blue ribbon have been chosen for this occasion. Each honoree’s name will be hand-printed on an ornament. To Order an Ornament in Honor/Memory of a Loved One, download the PDF Order Form, cut on the dotted line and mail with your donation to Seby B. Jones Cancer Center. Keep this portion of the page as your reminder invitation for the Lighting of the Tree ceremony time and place. Ornament orders received by December 2nd will be placed on the tree prior to the ceremony. Orders placed after December 2nd will be added as they are received.

For more information, call (828) 262-4332 or visit https://www.apprhs.org/events/details/433-lighting-of-the-tree.

Parenting Classes Announced at Watauga Medical Center

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System holds frequent classes for all parents. High Country Parent will keep you updated with all classes. Please continue to keep a check on the website and/or our Facebook page.


April Classes:

Prepared Childbirth Class

Date: 4/8/2013 – 5/13/2013
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm (Every Monday for 6 weeks)
Place: Watauga Medical Center – Boone, Marchese Birthing Center

This is a six-week class. Topics include what to expect during labor & delivery, the hospital experience and pain control strategies for labor. Class includes a tour of the Birthing Center. Course recommended for all births and those planning to use an epidural. Registration recommended by 20 weeks. (Medicaid accepted & scholarships available) FEE: $90.00

For more information, call (828) 262-4100.

Buckle Up Kids (Car Seat Safety) Class

Date: 4/2/2013
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Place: Watauga Medical Center – Boone, Marchese Birthing Center

This class offers a complete instructional guide to proper car seat use. Watauga County residents who receive Medicaid receive a free car seat if class is attended. Taught the first Tuesday night of every month from 6:30 to 8:30 at Watauga Medical Center in the Adams Classroom. No registration necessary.

For more information, call (828) 262-4100.