Ashe Memorial has entered into new agreements which will provide more health services to the community without patients having to go down the mountain.
“We are gaining services,” said Laura Lambeth, CEO of Ashe Memorial Hospital. “We are going out and recruiting those services back to the county. We don’t want to more than what we can appropriately do there, but there were a lot of services we weren’t doing here, which we could provide an excellent level of care.”
One of the new services Ashe Memorial Hospital will be providing, starting Monday, July 7, is pediatric care. The hospital, working with Boone-based Blue Ridge Pediatrics, is working to add a service that does not exist in Ashe County.
“We’re real excited about coming to Ashe Memorial,” said Dr. Gregory Adams, a physician with Blue Ridge Pediatrics. “We’re very impressed and have a good working relationship with the physicians in Ashe County and I personally have tremendous respect for the hospital.”
Blue Ridge Pediatrics, with offices in Boone and Linville, will initially start having hours two days per week at Ashe Memorial. In the future, the group plans to add more days in the county, which lacks a pediatric office.
“It’s something we want to do,” he said. “(Ashe Memorial) has done a lot of stuff in the last year or two to seek better care for the people of Ashe County.”
Adams said if Blue Ridge Pediatrics hires more pediatricians, they would ideally work in Ashe County five days a week.
“That was one of the specialties I heard about in the county when I first came here that everybody wanted,” Lambeth said”We didn’t have pediatricians in the county.”
Adams said the pediatricians will provide services ranging from sick visits to annual physicals. They have decided to start practicing in Ashe County, to help cut down on the number of people having to travel to Watauga County for pediatric care.
“It will be a full spectrum of pediatric and adolescent medicine,” he said.
Another service will be expanding ear, nose and throat (ENT) services. Dr. Charles Ford, of Blue Ridge Ear Nose and Throat will have a clinic inside the hospital.
Previously, people have had to go to Boone, Wilkesboro or Winston-Salem to receive ENT services.
“He will be doing surgeries (at Ashe Memorial) and he’s about to expand to two days a week,” Lambeth said. “That is another service we did not have.”
Also, Ashe Memorial Hospital has added the services of a new practitioner at its Mountain Family Care Center. Irene Childress joined the staff of Mountain Family Care Center in April 2014.
Childress earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Carolina in 2006 and earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Georgia Health Sciences University in 2012. Childress also worked as an emergency room nurse in Augusta, Georgia.
Lambeth said the services Ashe Memorial Hospital is adding will help people from having to travel long distances for their health.
“People that need to see an ENT physician, they no longer need to go outside of the county to be treated,” she said. The pediatric group, that is a huge win for our community that the parents don’t have to take their children outside of the county to see a pediatrician. We are thrilled about that.”
For more information on Ashe Memorial Hospital, go online to ashememorial.org/
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.