Harris Regional Hospital

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

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, orthopedics, pediatrics, primary care and wound care. Eight additional physicians and providers are scheduled to start in 2020. Specialties include cardiology, orthopedics, primary care, general surgery, vascular surgery and women’s care.

“It has 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, orthopedics, and primary care services and will bring a new service line to Harris in 2020 with the addition of a vascular surgeon.”

In 2020, Harris and Swain will welcome providers in cardiology, orthopedics 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 cardiac care nearby.

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.

In 2019, the hospitals’ community partnerships with Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College continued to thrive. Harris Orthopedics 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 and Hannah Caplinger 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 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.

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 Orthopedics 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.


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.


Harris and Swain honored 

employees for a collective 

1,275 years of service, including:


35 Years

Rita Moss


30 Years

Jennifer Lane, Gene Harris


25 Years

Misty Williams, Michael Belcher, Tina Fisher, Ronnie Kelly,

Carrie Winchester, Beth Dixon, 

Eric Reitz, 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, John Coleman, 

Ashley Hall, John Reno, Lynzie Smith


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.”