Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital are celebrating several milestones in making communities healthier as a new year begins.

January 13, 2020

In 2019, more than a dozen new physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners began practicing in Jackson, Swain, and Macon counties. Specialties include pulmonology and sleep medicine, cardiology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, primary care, and wound care. Eight additional physicians and providers are scheduled to start in 2020. Specialties include cardiology, orthopaedics, primary care, general surgery, vascular surgery, and women’s care.

“It’s been an incredible year in terms of recruiting physicians to practice in our communities,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “When additional physicians and providers choose to practice at our hospitals, we expand access to care. In 2019 we significantly expanded our cardiology, orthopaedics, and primary care services and will bring a new service line to Harris in 2020 with the addition of a vascular surgeon.”

New physicians and providers include:


Christine Kryger, NP and Leslie Morris, NP – Harris Pulmonary and Sleep Center
Scott Westermeyer, MD and Anne Fullbright, PA – Harris Cardiology
John Songer, MD and Joshua Wu, DO – Harris Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
Arielle Lankford, PNP and Norma Burdette, FNP – Swain Family Care
Caroline Rooney, FNP and Hannah Caplinger, FNP – Harris Family Care – Franklin
Ryan Marshall, DO and Song Washington, PA – Harris Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center

In 2020, Harris and Swain will welcome providers in cardiology, orthopaedics and sports medicine, urgent care, surgery, OB/GYN, and primary care.


The hospitals accomplished strategic initiatives in 2019 such as partnering with Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers at the Robbinsville location to open a physical therapy clinic which has grown to offering patient appointments five days per week. At Harris, the cardiology team performed its first cardiac intervention, following the continued growth of diagnostic catheterization procedures in 2017 and 2018. The addition of interventional cardiology at Harris means that those who call western North Carolina home have access to high quality cardiac care nearby without the burden of travel.

Both hospitals have experienced substantial growth in terms of utilization by the region. Harris and Swain served more patients in 2019 than in 2018 in the areas of emergency department visits, surgical procedures, births, and inpatient rehabilitation care.

Staff Recognition:

“None of our growth would be possible without our outstanding employees at all of our locations, including the hospitals, urgent care center, outpatient clinics, and physician practices,” Heatherly said. “We were excited to honor many with awards for years of dedication to our patients and organization, and to recognize others for compassionately delivering an excellent patient experience.”

In 2019, Harris and Swain honored employees for a collective 1,275 years of service:

35 Years:

Rita Moss, NP

30 Years:

Jennifer Lane
Gene Harris

25 Years:

Misty Williams
Michael Belcher
Tina Fisher
Ronnie Kelly
Carrie Winchester
Beth Dixon, MD
Eric Reitz, MD
Marcell Woodard

20 Years:

Darlene Brooks
Carol hood
Crystal McFalls
Matthew Cammisa
Stephanie Conner
Rebecca Justice
Tina Smith
Sherry Cabe
Debbie Hoyle
Marian Garrett
Joellen Pope

15 Years:

Laura Russell
Heather Sheppard
Kelly Brown
Loretta Sequoyah
Kimberly Anthony
Cassandra Conley
Selina Jones
Christopher McFalls
Robert Ray
Arlina Moore
Shane Szittai
Jacky Bradley
Kimberly Mason

10 Years:

Jacquelyn Awtrey
Susan Blackwell
Ryan Slechta, MD
Seth Yarborough
Todd Davis, MD
Kristyn Holland
Jessica Magestro
Jennifer McMahan
Amie Snyder

5 Years:
Ana Gonzalez, MD
Sabine Kelischek, MD
Megan Metcalf, MD
Kate Mosley
Joe Nardello
Caroline Rooney, NP
Holly Slusser
India Thompson
Kezia Waldroup
Sara Warren-Hill
Rebecca Bowman
Chana Burnette
Stephanie Driver
Kimberly Elliott
Angie Jones
Michele Kussow
Robert Messer
Sondra Poling
George Powell
Garrick Schenck
Sophie Gialamatzis-Richmond
Stephanie McCall
Sarah Vespasian
Gregory Brown, MD
John Coleman
Ashley Hall
John Reno
Lynzie Smith
Mandy Tessin
Darci Walker, CNM
Stacy Wright-Crawford
Tanya Bradley
Elizabeth Hodges
Angela Maxwell
Angela Powell
Angelia Whitten

At Swain Community Hospital the following were selected by their peers for making outstanding contributions to the patient experience:

Becky Cochran, Connie Millsaps, Jessica Cochran, Tammie Mashburn, Tammy Stephenson, Mary Smith, Amber Wasson, Courtney Orr, Ted Moore, Levi Weigand, Daniel Mackey, MD, Kevin Ray, and Rick Gass.

The Mercy Award winner for Harris and Swain was Don Clawson, security officer. The Mercy Award recognizes one employee from each of LifePoint Health’s hospitals who profoundly touches the lives of others and best represents the spirit and values on which the company was founded.

Community Partnerships:

In 2019, the hospitals’ community partnerships with Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College continued to thrive. Harris Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine cared for student-athletes on the field and on the sidelines at WCU events as the exclusive health care partner for Catamount athletics. Caroline Rooney, FNP and Hannah Caplinger, FNP completed the family nurse practitioner program as part of The Ascent Partnership in which the hospitals fund tuition in exchange for three years of practice with the hospitals. The Student Nurse Apprentice Program (SNAP) with Southwestern Community College has resulted in Kendra Wittman and Brandi Nations obtaining nurse aide certifications and licensure, practicing at Harris as certified nurse aides.

Looking Ahead:

In 2020, Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital plan to expand access to care by completing a renovation to the Harris Regional Cancer Center, increasing availability for Harris Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and opening a vein center on the Harris campus. In the first part of 2020, Harris will install new mammography technology, operating room equipment, and upgraded cardiology systems.

“It is our privilege to play a role in making communities healthier,” Heatherly said. “We are honored each time an individual or family chooses one of our facilities to seek care. We  will continue to strive to deliver an excellent experience one patient at a time.”

About Harris Regional Hospital & Swain Community Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital, established in 1925, is an 86-bed acute and specialty care facility serving Western North Carolina with more than 100 physicians practicing in locations throughout a multi-county region, including Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park of Franklin, an outpatient facility in Macon County.

Swain Community Hospital, established in 1950, is a 48-bed Critical Access Hospital serving a multi-county region with primary care, emergency medicine and subspecialty care including a pain clinic and a transitional care unit. Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital began an affiliation in 1997 and joined Duke LifePoint Healthcare in 2014.