AMH is hiring and improving, expanding services

By Alan Bulluck

April 29, 2014

Ashe Memorial Hospital (AMH) is in the process of interviewing physicians and continuing to provide and expand services at the 75 year-old hospital, and it all couldn’t be happening at a better time.

“The hospital is full, census is up,” AMH CEO Laura Lambeth said. “There’s a lot of activity going on (at the hospital).”

Lambeth said AMH is in the process of interviewing candidates to fill positions in primary care and internal medicine.

“We are in various stages of interviewing primary care physicians, internal medicine physicians to join, come to the area to provide primary care services and internal medicine services to the community,” Lambeth said.

The hospital is also continuing to work with OrthoCarolina and a pediatric group out of Boone to provide improved orthopedic and pediatric care at the facility.

“We’re continuing to work with OrthoCarolina to provide orthopedic services to the facility,” Lambeth said. “We’re also working with a pediatric group out of Boone and they’re going to be coming over two or three days per week.”

Dr. Charles Ford, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon recently opened a part-time practice at AMH.

“We also have Dr. Ford who is an ENT surgeon,” Lambeth said. “He is going to be opening a part-time practice here.”

Joe Thore, chief operating officer at AMH, said Ford’s practice is scheduled to open Monday, May 5, and will be open every Monday after.

AMH is also making use of the Seagraves building, which is the medical office building attached to the back of the hospital.

“Dr. Billett Jeanette with Ashe Cardiology is in the Seagraves building,” Lambeth said.

Lambeth also said AMH has a full-time staff of hospitalists.

“We’ve got a full-time hospitalists program,” Lambeth said.

Hospitalists are doctors who’ve completed their residency and who specialize in specifically overseeing the care of patients while they are in the hospital.

AMH is also co-sponsoring the first “Heart of a Husky” event, to take place May 31 at Ashe County High School (ACHS), along with Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and Ashe County Schools.

Amy Walker, director of technology for ACS, came up with the idea for the event to honor her niece, who collapsed while running and was found to have an undetected heart abnormality.

All athletes at ACHS will receive a physical and EKG at the event, to screen for possible heart rhythm abnormalities.

“I’ve been involved in screenings for several years at other places that I’ve worked, and every year, at least one athlete was identified with some kind of life-threatening cardiac anomaly, that the athlete, physician nor the parents knew the athlete had,” Lambeth said. “So it really is a higher level of screening for the athletes in Ashe County.”

Lambeth said Ashe County is a “beta site” in the four county medical service area, which includes Caldwell, Watauga and Allegheny counties.

“Ashe is the first, but other schools are looking into hosting similar events,” Lambeth said.

Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.