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ARHS Expands COVID-19 Screening Options in Watauga and Avery Counties

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is an official testing site for COVID-19, and has expanded the options by which patients can get a referral for testing. Most people who get COVID-19 recover without needing medical care, but it is still important to test for the virus in order to protect friends, family and community members whose immune systems are at risk. 
According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should consider getting tested. If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your primary healthcare provider or your local health department to see if you need to be referred to testing. 
If you or your loved ones are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms (for example fever and cough), call your healthcare provider to see if you need testing. Please call ahead before visiting a health care facility so they can prepare for your arrival. If you are experiencing severe, life threatening symptoms (for example, severe difficulty breathing, altered thinking, blue lips), seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1. 
How to Get a Referral for Testing
Step 1: Call a healthcare provider:
If you do not have a provider, you may call one of the Appalachian Regional Medical Associates offices below or your local health department. You may also connect with RelyMD telehealth at relymd.com/covidarhs on your computer or mobile device. Use coupon code BEWELLARHS for a $49 RelyMD visit.
Step 2: Provider will refer you for testing, if needed
If the provider determines that you meet the criteria for testing, he/she will help you make your appointment at a testing location in Watauga or Avery County. Please DO NOT travel to the testing location without an appointment.
Step 3: Follow instructions after testing
If your test is positive for COVID-19, you will need to be isolated for 14 days. The testing facility will provide education for you and your family whether you test positive for the virus or not.
If you do not have a primary care provider, you may call one of these practices to schedule an office visit (in-person or telehealth). The provider will determine whether you should be referred for a COVID-19 test.
  • Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists – (828) 386-2746
  • AppFamily Medicine – (828) 386-2222
  • Baker Center for Primary Care – (828) 737-7711
  • Davant Medical Clinic – (828) 386-3350
  • Elk River Medical Associates – (828) 898-5177
You may also call the Appalachian District Health Department at (828) 795-1970 or the Avery County Health Department at (828) 733-6031.
Billing and Insurance Information
ARHS provider visits (in-person or telehealth) will be covered by insurance just as a normal office visit would. If testing is needed, it will be billed separately. If you do not have insurance, call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state. 
You can also apply for financial assistance with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Call the Financial Counseling Office at (828) 262-4110.
COVID-19 Diagnostics Test Cash Price: $98
Initial office visit is NOT included in the COVID-19 cash price. During the COVID-19 emergency period declared by the Public Health Act, providers are required to make public the cash prices for the diagnostic test for COVID-19 [Reference: CARES Act Sec. 3202]. 
All healthcare providers and testing facilities are required to report all positive results to the health department.