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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        FOR MORE INFORMATION:
November 30, 2015                                                   RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Komen Grant Supports Porter Initiative to Provide Free Screening Mammograms

MIDDLEBURY--Since 1990, Porter Hospital has been providing free screening mammograms to area women who do not qualify for the “Ladies First” program or who have high deductible insurance plans.

Thanks to a recent grant from the Susan G. Komen foundation and in concert with the Ladies First program and the Open Door Clinic, Porter has secured additional resources to offer even more free mammograms to women during the month of January.

“We will be reserving several slots for this program in January and getting the word out by the local media to ensure that women know about this opportunity” said PMC spokesperson Ron Hallman.

“Screening mammograms remain one of the standard and highly effective screening tools for early detection of breast cancer” said Dr. Steve Koller, a Radiologist at Porter Hospital. “According to the American College of Radiology women are encouraged to have a screening mammogram annually beginning at age 40” he added.

Porter recently introduced a new 3D mammography unit which is the latest state of the art technology available.

“Additionally, our new 3D unit allows us to see masses and distortions associated with cancers significantly more clearly,” he added. “This new technology also detects 41% more breast cancers and reduces false positives by 40%,”.

For more information about this program, contact the Porter Hospital Radiology Department at 388-4757.


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November 18, 2015                                                   RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744 or

Infusion Center to Open at Porter Medical Center

MIDDLEBURY--Porter Medical Center is preparing to open a new “Infusion Center”, a clinical space designed to address the medical needs of hundreds of area patients who currently have to travel outside of Addison County for many types of therapeutic services required to treat a wide-range of diseases.

“Infusion (IV) therapy involves the administration of medication through a needle or a catheter. This therapy is prescribed when a patient's condition cannot be treated effectively by oral medication,” said PMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Fred Kniffin.

According to Kniffin, the Infusion Center will offer a variety of outpatient infusion therapies designed to treat conditions ranging from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, immune deficiencies, infectious diseases, anemia, asthma and more.

“If you need to receive medications via infusion as part of your treatment plan, our clinical team will work with your physician to provide convenient access to care, as well as support your family in what will be a comfortable and relaxing facility. The new Infusion Center will open on November 30 and will be located in the Porter Medical Center Collins building, and is currently being outfitted with new treatment chairs and non-clinical features that will allow patients to listen to music, watch television and visit with family, all while receiving their infusion treatment.

“Our goal is to provide excellent patient care in the most convenient and comfortable setting possible,” Kniffin added. “Moving forward, we will be working closely with our patients and their families to seek their input and ideas to continually improve our service and the overall patient experience.”


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September 9, 2015                                                   RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744 or

Porter Appoints New Chief Medical Officer

MIDDLEBURY--Dr. Carrie Wulfman, a family practice physician who sees patients at Neshobe Family Medicine in Brandon and is also the Medical Director of Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, has been appointed to serve as the next Chief Medical Officer of Porter Medical Center effective January 1, 2016. Her new role will begin as on an “interim” basis so that she can evaluate the demands of this new position while continuing to see patients two days each week at Neshobe Family Medicine in Brandon. Dr. Wulfman will replace Dr. Fred Kniffin as the Porter CMO.

“When I assumed this position over two years ago, I told our CEO that I wanted to take this assignment on for two years and then return to my roots as an Emergency physician”, said Dr. Kniffin. “I have been honored to serve as the first Chief Medical Officer in the history of Porter and to have played a role in many important projects, including the transition to our new CEO, Lynn Boggs. I am now ready, both personally and professionally, to return to caring for patients.”

“The timing of this change is perfect. Lynn is an extremely competent CEO and exceptional leader. She understands the importance of quality care and customer service and has the experience and expertise to take Porter to the next level”, he added.

Boggs, who assumed the role of President and CEO of Porter Medical Center in late June, praised Dr. Kniffin for both his many past contributions to Porter and for playing a central role in her transition. “Fred is a remarkable person, experienced physician and advocate for quality at Porter Medical Center,” she said. “As he approaches the final months of his commitment to this key leadership role, his devotion and contribution to our organization, and to our senior leadership team, remain invaluable. I am very pleased to know that Dr. Kniffin will remain part of the Porter ‘fabric’ caring for the sick and injured in our Emergency Department,” she added.

Boggs also praised Dr. Wulfman for agreeing to step forward into this position on a part-time basis while she continues to serve the patients of Brandon and surrounding communities as a practicing physician two days each week. “Carrie has consistently demonstrated that she is a caring, compassionate and extremely competent physician, and her patients at Neshobe Family Medicine absolutely love her,” Boggs said. “I am gratified that we were able to create a schedule for Carrie that allows her to continue to serve patients while also taking on responsibilities as a new physician leader for Porter.”


Green Mountain Care Board Announces 2016 Hospital Budget Decisions

Montpelier, VT – After completing its review of Vermont’s hospitals’ budget requests for fiscal year 2016, the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) has set the total fiscal year 2016 budget increase for Vermont’s hospital system at 3.5%, including 0.5% that qualifies as investments in health reform. This marks the third year in a row that Vermont’s 14 hospitals as a group have kept net patient revenue increases at or below the target set by the GMCB.

In announcing their decisions regarding hospital budgets for Fiscal Year 2016, the Green Mountain Care Board approved the Porter Hospital budget as submitted with no changes. Nine other hospitals’ budgets were approved as submitted and four were reduced by the GMCB.

PMC Board Chairperson, Maureen McLaughlin, responded to this news in an email to Porter’s new CEO, Lynn Boggs: “Congratulations to all. We appreciate all of your hard work, and know this result is well deserved,” she wrote.

In written guidance issued in March 2013 and reiterated this spring, the GMCB instructed hospitals to hold their FY16 net patient revenue increase to no more than 3 percent plus an allowance of up to an additional 0.6 percentage points for investments in health care reform initiatives. Net patient revenue includes payments hospitals receive from patients, government, and insurers to pay for patient care – but not revenues from other activities such as cafeterias, parking, and philanthropy.

Hospitals submitted budget requests in July, starting a two-month review process that included GMCB staff scrutiny of the budgets, open hearings with each hospital in August, a public comment period, input from the Office of the Health Care Advocate, and discussion in GMCB’s weekly open meetings.

The second key indicator of growth in hospital revenue is the “rate” – the increase in the price a hospital sets for services before negotiating with insurers. The GMCB approved rates ranging from -10.0 percent change to 6.0 percent change for individual Vermont hospitals in fiscal year 2016.


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August 5, 2015                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

New Campus-Wide Nutrition Service Department at PMC

In an effort to improve quality, enhance efficiency and facilitate greater collaboration within our organization, the two Nutrition Services Departments at Porter Hospital and at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center are being consolidated into a single, campus-wide PMC Nutritional Services Department as of Monday, August 3rd.

The department will be led by the new PMC Nutrition Services Director, George Schreck, in concert with Laura Brace, who has been appointed as the new PMC Director of Operations for Nutrition Services and Will Endres, who will be the campus wide Nutrition Services Supervisor.

These three experienced and talented leaders will work closely together to advance excellence and efficiency in the delivery of meals for our patients, our residents, our staff and our visitors at both the hospital and HPHRC.

George Schreck comes to Porter with more than 20 years of experience as a nutrition services manager, private chef and restaurant owner. Most recently, he served as the Executive Chef and Dining Services Director at The Lodge at Otter Creek in Middlebury, where he oversaw all meal services for a 175 person community and supervised a staff of 25 employees. He was named the “Vermont Health Care Association Chef of the Year” in 2013.

Laura Brace has been a visionary leader for Porter Hospital’s nutrition services department
for the past 15 years and has led the hospital department through many successful regulatory surveys
and has brought creativity and efficiency to the provision of food for our patients, staff and visitors.
She will now be a leader for both the hospital and the nursing home working closely with George and
Jamie Bryant (who will be a lead cook at Helen Porter).

The third new PMC nutrition services department position is a Supervisor position to oversee
the day to day work of the cooks and line staffs at both the hospital and HPHRC. Will Endres has
been appointed to this new role. He brings 20 years of cooking experience to this position, including
16 with Porter. He is about to complete a certificate course as a Certified Dietary Manager through the
University of North Dakota.

“We are fortunate and excited to be embarking on this new campus-wide initiative with three
very talented and committed leaders” said PMC Vice President of Development and Public Relations
Ron Hallman.

“Our goal for this new combined department is nothing short of excellence; and I am confident that we have put into place a team that can get us there and also find efficiencies and cost-savings along the way”, he said.


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June 16, 2015                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Dedicates North Wing in Honor of Retiring CEO James L. Daily
In recognition of Jim Daily’s thirty-one years of service and commitment to Porter Medical Center, the PMC Board of Directors announced last week the re-dedication of the hospital’s “North Wing” as the “James L. Daily North Wing”.

“The North Wing exists due to Jim’s foresight and leadership.” said Maureen McLaughlin, Porter Medical Center Board Chairperson. “He has taken Porter Hospital from the days of “Big Brother” (1984) to Big Pharma. He has shepherded Porter from managed care and HMO’s to ACO’s, and steered us as technology has transformed the way medicine is practiced. He has had the vision to keep Porter vibrant, relevant and forward thinking. Past, present and future members of the Porter community are extremely grateful for Jim Daily’s guidance.”

The North Wing was opened in the fall of 2006 as the new home of the hospital’s first Birthing Center and a new Surgical Care Center. The $16 million project was the largest and most ambitious project in the history of Porter, and included a $5 million capital campaign.

“I am deeply moved to have been honored by Porter in this very significant way” Daily said. “The North Project was a team effort and required the commitment of many individuals for an extended period of time; it is very meaningful to me to have my name associated with such an important community resource” he added.


Porter Introduces new 3D Mammography Details...


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June 3, 2015                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744
Porter Hospital Introduces the Care Channel for Patient Areas

Porter hospital now offers The C.A.R.E channel for patients and family. It is a soothing addition to the TV channels currently offered. More Information.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         FOR MORE INFORMATION:
May 19, 2015                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Hospital Birthing Center Earns State-Wide Recognition

Middlebury-- As part of the Vermont Regional Perinatal Health Project, representatives of the Porter Hospital Birthing Center recently reviewed the 2014 Perinatal Statistics for Vermont Community Hospitals at a May meeting sponsored by the Vermont Child Health and Improvement Program (VCHIP).”

This annual meeting of hospital providers of maternity care focuses on ways to continuously identify and implement improvement strategies for caring for women and infants at Vermont hospitals, including the review of key statistics of birthing centers throughout Vermont as compared to established quality standards.

Porter Hospital Birthing Center nurse manager, Danielle Bryant, represented Porter at this meeting and was extremely pleased with a number of key statistics that reflect well on the quality of care provided to area women in Addison County.

“Our birthing center has a 20% Cesarean section rate compared to the national average of 32% and is the third lowest C-section rate in the state of Vermont”, she said. “We also are extremely proud of the fact that we had zero non-medically indicated inductions prior to 39 weeks during the past year and that we had a 70% success rate for assisting women to successfully have a natural birth following a Cesarean birth (known as a “VBAC” birth),” she added.

Bryant also noted that Porter Hospital had the best rate in the state for the treatment of pregnant women who test positive for a bacterial infection called “Group Beta Strep” which can be passed to the baby at birth if not detected and treated during labor. “This is a very important quality indicator and we are very proud of the fact that we are performing at the highest level of any hospital in our state” she said.

In addition to high quality marks, Bryant notes that the Porter Hospital Birthing Center continues to attract more women to deliver in one of the five home-like birthing rooms. Porter has seen a steady increase in births since 2009 from 299 births that year to 376 births in 2014.


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March 31, 2015                                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Medical Center Announces New President and Chief Executive Officer

Middlebury--Porter Medical Center Board Chair, Bill Townsend, announced today that Lynn Boggs, MBA, MSN, RN, will be Porter’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding James L. Daily who will retire this spring after 31 years in this role.

“After a comprehensive national search for a new leader for Porter Medical Center, we are absolutely thrilled to have found an exceptional health care executive with more than 35 years of experience to help guide Porter Medical Center into the future” he said.

Boggs is a registered nurse who holds master’s degrees in business administration and science of nursing, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, System Operations, for Mission Health in North Carolina, while concurrently serving as president and CEO of McDowell Hospital; a post she held since 2012. Mission Health covers the 18-County Western North Carolina region and was recognized as one of the nation’s “Top 15 Health Systems” in 2012 and 2013 by Thomson Reuters and Truven Health Analytics. McDowell Hospital, part of the Mission System, is a 64-bed hospital with a network of nine physician/mid-level provider practices.

Among her many achievements at Mission Health was the successful development of new services in the eastern counties of Mission Health’s service area and developing system-wide clinical contracts and services that supported a clinically integrated regional network of care. As President of McDowell Hospital, she successfully led the organization in improving quality, financial performance and patient satisfaction.

Prior to her senior leadership roles at Mission Health, Boggs served as executive vice president and COO for SSM Healthcare in St. Louis, a system that includes seven hospitals in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma. While at SSM Healthcare, Boggs provided operational oversight for three hospitals, ambulatory and home health services, a 200-member medical group and 950 inpatient beds.

Before joining SSM Healthcare, Boggs served in a variety of leadership roles at Novant Health System in Winston Salem, North Carolina, a nonprofit health care system serving more than 5 million residents from Virginia to South Carolina. There, she served as president of Presbyterian Hospital and Presbyterian Orthopedic Hospital. She also spent three years as the executive vice president and COO for Novant’s four hospitals in its Southern Piedmont Region. Boggs began her career at St. Francis Xavier Hospital in Charleston, S.C. and later moved on to director of the Emergency-Trauma, Outpatient and Ambulatory Services at Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, S.C.

Boggs earned her Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University and her Master of Science of Nursing – Nursing Administration degree from the Medical University of South Carolina.

“I look forward to the opportunity to join such an outstanding organization which has been serving the people of Addison County and surrounding towns for 90 years”, Boggs said. “During my visit to Porter earlier this month, I was deeply impressed by the strong commitment of the board, medical staff and employees to serving and caring for the community through excellent customer service and the delivery of high quality health care; and I am looking forward to both leading and working collaboratively as a team to take Porter forward” she said.

She added, “I also want to acknowledge the tremendous accomplishments and legacy of Jim Daily over the past 31 years, and express my strong desire to build upon his hard work and ensure that Porter Medical Center continues to serve our community with the highest quality health care services.”


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March 30, 2015                                                              RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Middlebury Foot Care Joins the Porter Hospital Network of Practices
MIDDLEBURY--As of March 30th, Middlebury Foot Care became the newest area medical practice to join the Porter Hospital network of practices according to PMC spokesperson Ron Hallman.

“We are excited to welcome Middlebury Foot Care to our Porter Practice Management family of practices and to play a role in ensuring the continued success of this practice supporting the outstanding health care services provided by Dr. Peter Miller and his staff,” he said.

The Porter network of practices includes a dozen offices providing both primary care and specialized care in Middlebury, Vergennes, Bristol and Brandon.

“Although Middlebury Foot Care is now part of Porter Hospital, patients and the community will continue to receive the same services from the providers and staff who have been offering specialized podiatry services to patients for many years” Hallman added.


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Thursday, March 5, 2015                                              RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Speaker Shap Smith to Provide Keynote Address at
Porter Medical Center Annual Meeting

MIDDLEBURY--The 2015 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Monday evening, March 16th at 6:30 p.m. at the McCardell Bicentennial Hall (Room 216) on the campus of Middlebury College. The meeting is free and open to the public. The keynote speaker will be Vermont House of Representatives Speaker Shap Smith, who will offer his views and updates on health care reform initiatives and pending legislation in the Vermont Legislature.

The 2015 PMC annual meeting will also be the final Porter annual meeting for our retiring CEO/President, James L. Daily; and there will be a small reception for him prior to the meeting outside of the meeting room. All are invited.

In addition to the remarks by Speaker Shap Smith, brief reports will be provided by PMC Board Chair Bill Townsend, PMC President, James L. Daily and Medical Staff President Dr. Kris Anderson regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          FOR MORE INFORMATION:
October 6, 2014                                               Apoorva Stull (202) 955-3567 & Andy Reynolds (202) 955-3518


NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home™ standards emphasize enhanced care through patient-clinician partnership

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has recently announced that Addison Family Medicine, Bristol Internal Medicine, Porter Internal Medicine Middlebury Family Health and Middlebury Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships. Four other area practices, Little City Family Practice, Rainbow Pediatrics, Mountain Health Center and Neshobe Family Medicine are in the process of completing their application for this important designation.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that these practices have the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, medical practices must demonstrate the ability to meet the program’s key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers



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Friday, July 18, 2014                                                RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

ARCH “Family Center” addition planned for Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (HPHRC).

MIDDLEBURY--Building upon a collaboration which has already resulted in the creation of three “home-like” end-of-life rooms for area residents, Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (HPHRC) and Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) have agreed to move forward with another community service project— the construction of a new “Family Center” addition at Helen Porter. This project, which will be funded via a local fund-raising effort, will establish a new entrance, waiting area, kitchenette, bathroom and two private meeting rooms for families to use as they support a loved one residing in an ARCH Room.

ARCH’s vision, to expand end-of-life care options for patients who can no longer remain at home, began as a community initiative in 2004. The mission of this non-profit organization is to; “establish a home for the terminally ill, providing quality of life and support for families regardless of their ability to pay.” The ARCH rooms offer a local alternative of care similar to that provided at the Vermont Respite Home located in Williston.

The partnership between ARCH and HPHRC was forged in 2010 and with the help of a $25,000 donation from the Middlebury Lions Club, the first ARCH room was established in 2011 on Otter Creek Place at HPHRC. The Green Mountain Room, dedicated to the Middlebury Lions Club, was followed, in 2012, by The Champlain Room which was thoughtfully dedicated to former ARCH Board member Milo Schaefer. A third ARCH room was created to serve the particular aspects of care required by those residing on the Memory Care Neighborhood at HPHRC. Because this room was suggested by the loving staff of HPHRC care providers, this Addison Room was dedicated, in their name, in 2013.

Each room is furnished and decorated with a focus that acknowledges it as a patient’s residence during their final months, weeks, days or even hours. The staff, caring for these patients and their families, is specifically trained for the unique needs that come with the challenges and gifts that occur during the dying process.

Many of our residents, friends and neighbors have now experienced the personalized and compassionate care that is being delivered in the three ARCH rooms notes Daphne Jensen, Chair of the ARCH Board and longtime Hospice Volunteer.

She added: “Many testimonials and notes of gratitude have been received, including these words from a Bristol family — “It is with heartfelt thanks that my Mom had the opportunity to share her final journey with family and friends in an ARCH room. Her special loving caregivers continued to enjoy life with her in a warm and comfortable new room, which she loved! And, as her passing neared, her room became a “home away from home” for family, friends and caregivers, too. We feel so fortunate to have had the ARCH experience- a thoughtful space, an incredible staff whose care and love could not have been more supportive, and regular “courtesy carts” filled with treats to share with visitors…a final oasis for residents and their families. Addison County is so lucky that this service is available to all.”

“ Our community members deserve the best care possible during this poignant time”, Jensen notes. Another family expressed this hope in their appreciation, “On behalf of our mother, we cannot thank you enough for the extraordinary care Mom received in the Rehabilitation wing and in the ARCH room. Not only did Mom receive excellent attention, the staff brought our family food, drinks, pillows and hugs in the middle of the night. Thank you for making Mom feel so loved.”

Attentive to the ongoing needs of these patients and families, both HPHRC and ARCH have recognized the lack of space and privacy for the family members and friends present to the dying of a loved one. The importance and need of a “Family Center” is a logical addition that can no longer be postponed.

While planning for the Family Center continues, a second project is underway between ARCH and Porter Hospital to create an ARCH room on the Medical/Surgical floor of the hospital. While most people choose to die at home, very often this is not an option for those facing their final journey at Porter Hospital. The Porter staff, in recognition of the comfort that an ARCH room can provide their patients, attending family and friends, has approached ARCH to build a room there before the end of 2014.

It is hoped that these projects will demonstrate that ARCH, Porter Hospital and

HPHRC are very committed to the expansion of end-of-life care here in Addison County. “The ARCH Family Center and Porter Hospital ARCH room projects are meaningful elements of our community’s awareness to the love and attention we must give to those on their end-of-life journey,” said PMC President, James L. Daily. “We are very proud of our collaboration with ARCH at both Helen Porter and Porter Hospital to build upon the continuum of care available to our patients and residents.”

ARCH continues to identify the ongoing needs of Addison County relating to end- of-life care. Beyond the bricks and mortar, there should be a continued effort in education and conversation as it relates to death and dying. ARCH has partnered with other organizations to help bring forward issues surrounding Palliative Care and Hospice Care. Indeed, more can be done in preparation.

With Porter Hospital, HPHRC, Addison County Home Health & Hospice (ACHHH), Hospice Volunteer Services (HVS) and ARCH, community education and conversations around many aspects of end-of-life have been encouraged. Community presentations by Denys Cope, author of Dying a Natural Passage; Stephen Kiernan, author of Last Rights; and Dr. Ira Byock, author of The Best Care Possible and most recently the play Vesta have furthered the effort.

This year the theme for the collaboration of these five organizations is “Start the Conversation”. It encourages people to talk about death and dying, and complete their Advance Directives. The group is presenting at service organizations, faith communities and local exhibitions such as the Sustainability Expo. A free social event was held in May at 51 Main. Titled “Let’s Talk” and facilitated by Dr. Diana Barnard, the event incorporated several “skit-lets” which presented typical conversations between friends and family members about death and dying. There was food and a cash bar, in an atmosphere that was comfortable and informal for conversation. The latest paper resources for “Starting the Conversation” and Advance Directives were available, as well as people resources for particular questions—legal, medical, spiritual. The feedback from this event was very enthusiastic, so the group will provide this opportunity in other towns, with the next “Let’s Talk” at the Shoreham Inn, in October.

The group has a booth at Field Days and has created a website: www.addisoncountyconversations.org to provide more information and support to the community.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tuesday, July 2, 2014                                           RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Posted on July 2, 2014 By John Flowers in the Addison Independent

More help on the way for opiate addicts, Bristol doctors to serve more Suboxone patients

MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center and the Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) will join forces to substantially expand the county’s only Suboxone program to help opiate addicts, a move that will allow Bristol Internal Medicine to deliver the much-needed service to 80-90 patients, up from the current 25.

The Porter board approved the expanded Suboxone program last week, and did so even with the prospect of a $200,000 annual budget hit.

Porter officials said they had been led by the Vermont Department of Health Access to believe that there would be some additional state funding for a standalone Suboxone clinic on the hospital campus. When the Department of Health Access ultimately declined, Porter and CSAC pursued the initiative through Bristol Internal Medicine.

“When we learned we would not be able to pursue the independent clinic approach, Dr. (Emily) Glick and some of the other providers on the medical staff approached us and said, ‘We would like to expand on the successful program being offered (in Bristol) and serve the patients that need to be served,’” Porter Hospital spokesman Ron Hallman said. “It was a great pivot.”

Suboxone is a medication that has proven effective in reducing the symptoms of opiate dependence. But Addison County currently has only one physician — Glick in Bristol — prescribing the drug. Glick has had to cap her Suboxone-related patient load at around 25, which unfortunately is but a small fraction of the requests for service that she receives. Indeed, Jean Cotner, vice president of Porter Practice Management, pointed to state statistics indicating there are 80 to 90 Addison County-based, Medicaid-eligible patients who must seek opiate addiction treatment in other counties.

So in an effort to better meet local needs, Porter and CSAC officials have agreed to almost quadruple the volume of patients that will be able to participate in the medication-assisted treatment program at Bristol Internal Medicine. A total of four primary care physicians based at Bristol Internal Medicine will soon be able to prescribe Suboxone, which will not be kept on premises. A substance abuse coordinator and a case manager will also be added to the office to make sure the patients receive ancillary services — such as counseling and job search assistance — to assist them in their overall recovery from opiate addiction.

The new prescribing physicians will be Drs. Gretchen Gaida-Michaels, Lynn Wilkinson and Will Porter, according to Cotner. The four physicians combined will be able to handle a patient load of 80 to 90, Cotner said. Organizers stressed the new duties would not preclude the participating physicians from maintaining their existing patient rolls.

“(These physicians) had some capacity to absorb some additional patients,” Hallman said. “It allowed them to serve more patients without expanding their hours.”

Local officials hailed the expanded medication-assistance program at Bristol Internal Medicine as a major development. Prior to Dr. Glick stepping forward, Addison County had been the only county in the state without a Suboxone/buprenorphine prescriber, confirmed Beth Tanzman, Blueprint for Health assistant director with the Department of Vermont Health Access.

“It’s great news that Porter and the Counseling Service are continuing to work together to bring this clinic to fruition,” Tanzman said on Tuesday when informed of the expanded Suboxone initiative through Bristol Internal Medicine.

The United Way of Addison County has earmarked $25,000 from a special account — known as the Addison County Funders’ Collaborative for Emerging Needs — to help Porter and CSAC with start-up costs for the expanded program. Fortunately, those start-up costs will be less than they would be for a new clinic because of the infrastructure and employee base already in place at Bristol Internal Medicine.

“I think everyone is pretty excited about this, to have this additional tool in the community,” said United Way Executive Director Kate McGowan, whose organization helped launch the Five-Town Drug and Safety Alliance–Treatment Committee, a coalition of citizens, community and religious leaders and members of the counseling and medical community in the Bristol area concerned about drug abuse.

“We are hoping this is just a first step, that this option will be embedded throughout the Porter health care system and not just at one practice,” McGowan said.


Some state funding will be available to finance the case manager and substance abuse coordinator that will be added to the office, Cotner said. It’s the same state funding that is available to all physician offices that elect to take on medication-assisted treatment programs.

Still, it will present another financial hit to a nonprofit, community hospital already facing tough financial challenges. The state’s rural hospitals have been operating with razor-thin financial margins while contending with chronic under-funding through the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs. They have had to adjust to ongoing state and federal health care reforms and new responsibilities — such as a requirement that they periodically host psychiatric patients when the state’s mental health system is short of residential placements.

“Porter has estimated the direct and indirect expenses for providing this program at Bristol Internal Medicine will be in excess of $700,000,” reads a fiscal year 2015 budget narrative from Porter Medical Center to the Green Mountain Care Board, which is charged with approving all of the state’s hospital spending plans.

“The net result is an overall practice deficit of approximately $200,000.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin made national headlines this past January when he stressed the battle against opiates as his top priority in his 2014 state of the state address. Porter officials haven’t forgotten that speech.

“It is really hard to get around the fact that 80 percent of the state of the state address focused on opiate addiction and the primary mover here is the Agency of Human Services — a billion-dollar enterprise — couldn’t find $127,000 to make this happen in Addison County?” Porter Hospital President Jim Daily said.


Hallman agreed.

“It’s fair to say we had anticipated some potential funding,” Hallman said. “It ended up not materializing. That caused us to step back and rethink our approach. To be candid, we were disappointed that the money did not come through. However, we now feel like our providers and the Counseling Service and hospital getting together and stepping up and going forward with an alternative plan has resulted in a really good model that will allow us to take care of our patients.”

Tanzman said state funding was not awarded for start-up of the county’s initial plan for a stand-alone clinic because it differed from the current model of prescribing Suboxone/buprenorphine through individual physician practices. She said the Bristol Internal Medicine model will qualify for the same annual support that flows to other practices. Tanzman said that Bennington County — which has roughly the same population as Addison County — currently has seven physicians prescribing Suboxone to a combined total of 170 Medicaid recipients.

Cheryl Huntley, CSAC’s operations director for youth, family and emergency services, stressed that the expanded Suboxone program should only be seen as a start in addressing a growing drug addiction problem in the state.

“Vermont will still struggle with inadequate treatment capacity,” she said. “But this is a great start.”

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.


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April 16, 2014                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802 388-4744

Surgical & OB Referral Line is Now Open

We have listened! Our new Surgical and OB Referral Line is ready. At the request of providers and patients, we are now offering a referral line. The Referral Line is 802-382- 3432. This referral line is staffed Monday-Friday 7:30A -4PM. The rest of the time there is a voicemail option that a message can be left and we will return the call on our next business day.

All calls from patients; office staff; referring hospitals and primary care providers can be assisted through this line.
Looking for a surgeon, or someone to do colonoscopies; an urologist? We will be able to direct you to who is on call.
New to the community? We will help you get an appointment with a surgeon or an OB provider.


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March 11, 2014                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802 388-4744

Member of the Green Mountain Health Board to Provide Keynote Address at
Porter Medical Center Annual Meeting

MIDDLEBURY--The 2014 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Wednesday evening, March 26th at 7:00 p.m. at the Middlebury EMS Headquarters on the campus Porter Medical Center. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker will be Green Mountain Care Board Member, Dr. Allan Ramsay, who will address the topic: “Health Care Reform in Vermont: Implications for Primary Care and Community Hospitals.”

Dr. Ramsay is a Colchester-based primary care physician who has practiced in Vermont for 30 years, and his signature work is in the area of palliative care, where he has been a leader in developing models for assuring that patients’ wishes are followed at the end of their life. He is past Medical Director of Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Palliative Care Services and the founder of the Rural Palliative Care Network.

Dr. Ramsay had a long career in academic medicine. He has served as Residency Director and Vice Chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont and is now Professor Emeritus. He is a past member of the board of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties and the Board of the Community Health Center of Burlington.

Dr. Ramsay holds a medical degree from Emory University and is board certified in internal medicine, geriatrics, hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Ramsay lives in Essex Junction.

According to Dr. Ramsay: “If we shift the paradigm to focus on primary care that enables
Vermonters to achieve better health and eliminate barriers to providing quality care, the foundation is set to support each and every patient as well as the overall health of our state. That’s what we all want.”

In addition to the remarks by Dr. Ramsay, brief reports will be provided by PMC Board Chair Bill Townsend, PMC President, James L. Daily and Medical Staff President Dr. Linn Larson regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.


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December 30, 2013                                                         RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Event to Feature Donated Work of Local Renowned Artist

MIDDLEBURY--A new original painting, donated by renowned local artist, Anne Cady, will be the featured raffle prize at the January 24th benefit event for Porter Medical Center, which will be held at Two Brothers Tavern beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the event itself, which will feature a piano bar showcasing the talents of Fred Barnes and delicious local foods and beverages, are $25 per person.

Raffle tickets for the painting, valued at $4,500 and entitled: “Much More Than This One Road”, are $10 each (you do not have to purchase tickets for the event or be present at the event to enter the raffle).

Anne Cady’s landscapes are popular and in great demand and have been acquired by more than 600 private collectors around the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Europe.

The bucolic beauty of the Vermont countryside provides the inspiration for Cady's distinctive oil paintings. The rolling hills, farms, fields, forests and mountains all play a role in her compositions but once her brush touches the canvas she allows her imagination to be her guide. That is when the fun begins, she takes what she sees and makes it her own. Her paintings are playful with simple, clearly defined forms, full of vibrant color and spirit.

At the age of 15, Cady started teaching art classes at her home in Darien, Ct., to neighborhood kids. At Middlebury College, she studied printmaking with David Bumbeck. While raising her four children in Vermont, Cady founded and directed the Children’s Art School, which for nearly 30 years provided art classes to children in Pittsford, Woodstock, Reston, Middlebury and New Haven.

“We are grateful beyond words to Anne Cady for donating this incredible painting for our raffle and in support of the important work of Porter Medical Center,” said PMC Auxiliary President Holmes Jacobs. “This will be a great evening in support of the important work of Porter and a great evening for the lucky person who buys the winning raffle ticket for this magnificent original painting.”

Other major event sponsors for this Porter Medical Center benefit are Two Brothers Tavern, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Otter Creek Brewing and Baker Distributing. This event is organized and hosted by the Porter Medical Center Auxiliary, which raises funds to support the community programs and important work of our local hospital and Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

Both event and raffle tickets may be purchased online at www.portermedical.org or by calling the Porter Public Relations Office at 388-4738.


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December 8, 2013                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Third ARCH Room at Helen Porter (HPHRC) Dedicated

On December 7th, a Dedication Ceremony of the third “ARCH Room” (named the Addison Room) at Helen Porter (HPHRC) was attended by board members from both organizations, Helen Porter staff and residents, families and friends. These beautifully furnished rooms, funded by the organization, offer compassionate end-of-life care in a lovely home-like setting.

In dedicating this new room, Daphne Jensen, the President of the ARCH Board, said, “We would not be here today, if not for Neil Gruber’s vision of culture change, he opened the door for us. This new room in the Memory Care Neighborhood is special. The concept of this room was initially brought to our attention by the attentive staff that understands this unique environment and the individual needs of people residing here. We are grateful for the caregivers’ ability to navigate through the issues during this stage of life with flexibility, kindness and love. The people that work here are a gift to the community of Addison County and therefore we would like to dedicate this room to the staff of HPHRC.”

The ARCH (Addison Respite Care Home) initiative, that started planning 9 years ago for a way to provide our community with compassionate end-of-life care when home is not an option, has come a long way. After countless hours of conversations, research, meetings, organizing, and fund-raising the ARCH Board joined with HPHRC to achieve this dream. In the spring of 2011 the first room--Green Mountain Room in honor of the Middlebury Lions--was created at HPHRC on Otter Creek Place. In the fall of 2012 the second room—Champlain Room in memory of Milo Schaefer-- was created, next door to the first. Then a request was made to the ARCH Board by the remarkable staff at HPHRC for a third room. This room is unique in that it is located on the Memory Care Neighborhood. Many folks call this home, and the staff’s insight into the needs of these resident’s in their final days was compelling. Creativity on the part of both partners in this venture, ARCH and HPHRC, led to the newest room—Addison Room in honor of the staff at HPHRC.

Collaboration between many people and organizations throughout Addison County have worked together to take care of those in our community who deserve compassion, dignity and respect during this final passage in life. ARCH, Hospice Volunteer Services, Addison County Home Health & Hospice, Helen Porter, Porter Hospital including all the staff, volunteers, residents and family members have participated in raising awareness and hope for the dying and their caregivers. Heather Quesnel, Director of Nursing at HPHRC, supports the ARCH mission, “I have seen the magic that occurs within the ARCH rooms. The care giving process transforms from something that is provided, to a gift that is eagerly shared. The beautiful rooms bring pride to the staff which enhances their desire to go above and beyond for the patient and their families. The room reminds them about the very intimate, special and once-in-a-lifetime moment they are part of and for that they feel privileged and honored to be included.”

ARCH is currently exploring new initiatives to further encourage ways to deliver what Dr. Ira Byock, Palliative Care Physician, compels us to envision, “the best care possible”. The ARCH Board would like to express their gratitude to all who have supported their efforts.

For more information about the ARCH initiative you may contact Daphne Jensen at 759-2646 or Laurie Borden at 388-4738 .


September 4, 2013
Contacts: Laura Jacobs/Earl Wells, e3communications


vitlSecond long term care facility in state to participate in network managed by Vermont Information Technology Leaders

BURLINGTON, VT – Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) today announced Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center located in Middlebury is Vermont’s second long term care facility to connect to the state’s health information network. Through a VITL interface, Helen Porter staff is now able to receive lab results, radiology reports and transcribed reports soon after the data has been generated from Porter Medical Center to provide more effective and timely treatment.

“In addition to connecting physician practices and hospitals to Vermont’s information network, long term care facilities are also an important component,” said John Evans, president and CEO of VITL. “As residents transfer from one health care setting to another and are treated by various physicians, their most current clinical information is available in one location, which aids in the coordination of care through more efficient treatment and elimination of unnecessary tests or hospitalization.”

Having this clinical information available right in near real time enables treatment to be given more rapidly at Helen Porter, possibly reducing unnecessary admissions to the hospital. In the near future, doctors and other treating medical staff, such as specialists, will be able to electronically and securely access clinical data from Helen Porter through Vermont’s health information network.

“We at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center are proud to be among the first long-term care facilities in the State of Vermont to connect to the VITL network and continue our ongoing efforts to integrate clinical technology with highly compassionate care”, said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber.

About VITL: Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) is a non-profit organization that assists Vermont health care providers statewide with adopting and using health information technology to improve the quality of care delivery as well as to enhance patient safety and outcomes. Comprised of a collaborative group of stakeholders including health plans, hospitals, physicians, other health care providers, state government, employers, and consumers, VITL is the designated health information exchange (HIE) for the state of Vermont and also the state’s federally-designated regional extension center. For more information, please visit www.vitl.net.


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July 16, 2013                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Dr. Laura C. Panto, joined Middlebury Pediatric & Adolescenth Medicine

MIDDLEBURY--Dr. Laura C. Panto, joined Middlebury Pediatric & Adolescenth Medicine practice on July 15, 2013. Most recently, Dr. Panto was a Pediatric Resident at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where she directed a “Teaching as Residents” Initiative and served on a Quality Improvement project.

Dr. Panto received her Bachelors Degree in Biology from Texas Tech University and went on to earn her Doctor of Medicine degree at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. She has been a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2010.

Dr. Panto was very interested in relocating to Vermont as her fiancé is an Internal Medicine Intern at Fletcher Allen and they plan to make Vermont their home. “I love outdoor activities, reading historical fiction, playing the clarinet and traveling with my future husband Tim,” says Dr. Panto.

Dr. Panto is committed to personal and professional excellence. Her main objective within her pediatric practice is to make lifelong connections with her patients and watch them grow as she is growing as a physician. “We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Panto to MPAM and to our Porter family” said Porter Medical Center President James L. Daily.

Dr. Panto is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, please call the office at 388-7959.


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June 14, 2013                                                           RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Vermont Author Sue Halpern’s New Book Featured in National Media

MIDDLEBURY--Vermont Author Sue Halpern’s newly released book, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home, is receiving great reviews from the New York Times, USA Today and other national publications, and will be the feature story with Jane Pauley on NBC’s “Today Show” scheduled to air on June 25th.

Based on three years of weekly therapy dog visits with residents at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Middlebury, (referred to as “County” in the book), Sue learns “Lessons in the good life from an unlikely teacher”…her dog Pransky.

The book details her relationships with the residents and staff of Helen Porter during her weekly visits with Pransky, and provides both humorous and philosophical perspectives on the positive contributions that a “non-judgmental” visitor like Pransky can have in the life of a nursing home resident.

Besides writing, Sue is an editor and teacher. She lives in Vermont with her husband, the writer and activist Bill McKibben, their college-age daughter Sophie, and Pransky their dog who is featured in her sixth and most recent book which was published in May, 2013 by Riverhead, a division of Penguin. She has written for any number of magazines--from Rolling Stone to The New Yorker and everything in between: The New York Times Magazine, Glamour, The New York Review of Books, Good Housekeeping, Mother Jones, and Conde Nast Traveler to name more than a few. At Middlebury College, where she is a scholar-in-residence, she runs the Narrative Journalism Fellowship, and at The New York Review of Books, she is the editor of NYRB Lit, the electronic imprint of NYR Books. Sue is the human half of a therapy dog team, was a Rhodes Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow, and remains hopeful that ice cream is the key to world peace.

Copies of “A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home” can be obtained by visiting the Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation web site: www.helenporter.org, which also contains information about other innovative programming underway at HPHRC under their ongoing “Culture Change” approach to resident-centered care.


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June 12, 2013                                                           RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

MIDDLEBURY—At their monthly meeting in June, the Porter Medical Center Auxiliary Board of Directors approved $61,000 in contributions to support a variety of projects at the hospital and at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (HPHRC).

The contributions included $50,000 for a new surgical table specifically designed to be used in orthopedic cases, specifically hip replacement surgery, in a manner that allows for a less invasive procedure and reduced recovery time for the patient. The board also approved $10,000 for the Helen Porter Lifeline program and $1,000 for a new wheelchair for the Admissions/Emergency Departments.

The PMC Auxiliary is a membership organization with approximately 400 communityk members and a 20-person board of directors. Funds that are donated to Porter Medical Center come from proceeds from sales at the Round Robin Upscale Retail Shop, as well as from special events such as the annual “Kentucky Derby Day” benefit each spring.

“We are grateful to Porter Medical Center for the care, services and programs offered to our community, as pleased to be able to play a role in supporting all of these through our annual contributions”, said Auxiliary President Holmes Jacobs.

“Porter Medical Center deeply appreciates the extremely generous financial support from the Auxiliary and is very thankful to the board and to all of the volunteers who work at Round Robin and throughout our organization to support our mission”, said PMC President James L. Daily.

For more information on the Porter Medical Center Auxiliary or to get on their mailing list call the Porter Public Relations Office at 388-4738.


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May 21, 2013                                                      RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

MIDDLEBURY--On June 4th, Porter Hospital will be opening a new outpatient rehabilitation clinic at the Bristol Internal Medicine practice in order to provide more convenient access to a range of services for the people of Bristol and surrounding community.

Known as “PROS” (Porter Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Services), the new clinic will be providing Physical Therapy services three times per week with flexible hours in the early morning and evening. “We are hoping to catch the before and after work needs of our patients and make these services easier to access both geographically and from a scheduling perspective” said Doreen S. Kadric, Director of Rehabilitation Services at Porter Medical Center

“A very intriguing idea came from one of our staff members, Ali Zimmer, who will be the physical therapist at the clinic, which is to reach out to Athletic Directors at the local schools and promote off-season athletic conditioning: strength, agility and flexibility to reduce the risk of injury or re-injury for student-athletes”, she said.

“We also will be providing “Driver Evaluations” for those individuals who are referred by their physician” she added. Driver Evaluation is performed by Occupational Therapists and is designed to assess individuals with cognitive impairment to assist their physician with the difficult decision of determining whether driving is a safe option. The new clinic will provide this assessment monthly.

“It is important for folks to understand they do not have to be a patient of Bristol Internal Medicine to utilize our services” Kadric added.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, individuals should call Carol Sweeney at 388-4777.


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February 15, 2012                                                      RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Hospital to Relocate and Expand Bristol Internal Medicine to Improve Access to Primary Care

MIDDLEBURY--Ensuring adequate access to primary care services for the people of Addison County is among the highest priorities now facing Porter Hospital and every other Vermont hospital according to a recent report published by the Vermont “Area Health Education Center” (AHEC).

According to this report, “In Vermont, during the three year period 2009 to 2011, there was a persistent shortage of more than 50 general internal medicine physicians relative to national benchmarks. This shortfall was pervasive, impacting every region of the state. Over the same period, the supply of family medicine physicians, who serve both children and adults, hovered around the adequate level statewide, with supply and distribution varying by region.”

The report also states that these challenges will persist into the future. “Given the aging of the population, the aging of the primary care workforce, and competition from other states to recruit primary care practitioners, Vermont will continue to face challenges in both maintaining and increasing the supply of primary care practitioners for adults.”

A December, 2011, “Community Perception Survey”, conducted by Porter Hospital, affirmed that access to primary care is a top community concern. According to this report, “By far the most commonly cited weakness (in the local health care system) was the lack of access to providers--particularly primary care.”

With this backdrop, the Porter Hospital Board of Directors recently approved a plan to relocate and expand the hospital’s primary care practice in Bristol into the new “Bristol Works!” complex (former home of Autumn Harp).

By early August, Porter plans to complete this relocation and simultaneously welcome a new physician, Dr. Emily Glick, into the new and larger Bristol practice location. In addition to offering more exam rooms to accommodate additional providers and see more patients, the new office will have space for the new “Community Health Team” members who will be providing services consistent with the Vermont Blueprint for Health initiative. This program aims to provide better coordination of services for patients and offer education, support and resources designed to support patients with chronic health conditions better manage their disease and improve their health status over time.

“We are very enthusiastic about this new facility and the opportunity it provides Porter to better meet the needs of our patients in Bristol and surrounding communities and ensure adequate and timely access to primary and preventive health care,” said PMC President James L. Daily. “We also are gratified to be playing a positive role in the development of the “Bristol Works!” project and hope that our presence as a major tenant in this complex can also support economic development for the community.”

Daily indicates that early response from patients and the local community to this project has been overwhelmingly positive, and that he looks forward to the completion of this project later this year.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011                                       RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Tapestry Midwifery Receives National “Best Practice” Recognition from ACNM

Vergennes--Tapestry Midwifery in Vergennes has been recognized by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) for achieving “Best Practice” standards for small- sized midwifery practices in four clinical areas. These are: Lowest Rate of Low Birthweight Infants, Lowest Rate of Maternal Length of Stay After a C-section, Lowest Maternal Readmission Rate and Highest Breastfeeding Continuation Rate.

According to the ACNM, this recognition is in connection with their ongoing “Benchmarking Project”, which is a method for comparing care processes to those of other practices and identifying “best practices”.

“Benchmarking helps project participants to improve and adapt the care they provide to obtain superior outcomes in patient satisfaction, patient safety, effectiveness and efficiency” according to the ACNM web site.

“The purpose of the ACNM Benchmarking Project is to improve and maintain the quality of midwifery care provided to women and children by promoting member awareness of best practices” per their report. To facilitate this process, members share data on nationally recognized quality metrics.

According to the ACNM, a total of 50 data points were collected and analyzed during 2011, resulting in 33 benchmarks for comparison. A total of 98 midwifery practices participated, representing more than 53,000 births and the work of approximately 570 midwives.

“We are honored to receive this recognition by the ACNM and are very proud of the
services we provide to women and families”, said Heather Kidde, one of the three certified nurse-midwives working at Tapestry Midwifery.

Dr. Katherine Wagner, a physician at Addison Associates in OB/GYN agrees, “Women in our community are extremely fortunate to have a variety of exceptional resources and providers available to them for their maternity care, including our new Birthing Center, our colleagues at Tapestry Midwifery and my physician colleagues here at our practice.”

“We applaud this recognition for Tapestry Midwifery and congratulate the staff for achieving this status”, she said.


New Hospitalist Program at Porter

Porter Hospital has established a new “Hospitalist” program that will begin in October. The purpose of the Hospitalist program is to provide the highest quality, coordinated and consistent services to individuals who are admitted to the Medical/Surgical Unit at the hospital. A primary care provider will have appropriate communication with the Hospitalist physician who will care for each patient as an inpatient, but he or she will not be directly managing the care on a day-today basis during a hospitalization. The Porter “hospitalist” program is similar to other programs throughout Vermont and the U.S.

Many hospitals, working closely with their primary care and specialist physicians, have established such programs and hired specialized physicians who focus exclusively on caring for hospitalized patients. These programs are generally highly successful and provide very complete, comprehensive and coordinated care.

Dr. Mike Kiernan, President of the Porter Hospital Medical Staff offered the following: “Years ago when a patient would arrive at the Porter Emergency Room, their doctor would be summoned from their busy office to care for them. Several decades ago we changed to a model where physicians with special training in Emergency Care and years of experience were stationed in the Emergency Room allowing us to provide consistent, timely and responsive care to our sickest patients. Now Porter is beginning a program to do the same thing with our hospitalized patients. They will be cared for by physicians based at the hospital and dedicated only to providing timely and responsive care to our inpatients.”

Porter Hospital has hired Dr. Mario Capparuccini to direct this program and serve as one of the two full-time physicians; the second full-time physician joining this program is Dr. Kevin Mulholland, who has been a member of our medical community for many years. In order to ensure that Porter has full coverage for this program 365 days a year, there will be other physician resources available to serve on a per diem basis as needed. These per diem physicians are Dr. Tom Apridonidze, Dr. Jaspinder Sra and Dr. Andre Giannakopoulos. If you have any questions regarding this new program, please speak with your primary care provider. Pat Jannene, Vice President of Patient Care Services says, “We are very excited and enthusiastic about offering this new program, and believe that it will further enhance our ability to provide outstanding care to our patients.

Community Service Award to HPHRC

At the September annual meeting of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center was recognized with the 2011 “Community Service Award”. This award is given annually to a local not-forprofit organization that makes a positive and significant contribution to our community, and according to Chamber President, Andy Mayer, HPHRC received several nominations.

The award was presented by Lynn Coale, a chamber and HPHRC board member, who outlined several reasons affirming why Helen Porter is deserving of this award and described his personal experience to illustrate his points: “Over the course of five years, I have had two separate experiences in which my parents received rehabilitation services at Helen Porter. Both of these experiences have left me feeling profoundly grateful that we have an organization of this caliber in our community. My feelings about this organization are based upon first-hand knowledge, not just with HP but with other health care facilities in New England. Each time I’ve been involved with the staff at Helen Porter, I am almost stunned at the kindness and compassion with which they treat their patients. I find the care at Helen Porter far surpasses what I’ve seen elsewhere. Not only do they offer individuals fine medical treatment, but they provide care which is respectful and leaves the patient’s dignity in tact as well.”

Coale cited the challenges caused by the failure of the Champlain Bridge last October and the immediate response by Administrator Neil Gruber and Helen Porter to provide tangible assistance to their New York employees to help lessen the burden created by the serious issue. In addition to the additional stipend paid to these employees to help defray the cost of fuel, he also specifically mentioned the occasions when Gruber showed up at the ferry crossing very early in the morning with hot coffee and donuts for his employees.

Additionally, Coale referenced the ongoing “Culture Change” effort at HPHRC and said that Helen Porter has taken significant steps to improve the quality of life for their residents.

“I accept this award on behalf of my staff”, Gruber said after receiving the inscribed pewter plate representing this award. “They are the people who deserve this recognition and who provide excellent care to our residents every single day.”


There was an open house on Sept. 15, 2011 to introduce the new end-of-life option at HPHRC. According to PMC President, James L. Daily, Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) is an organization that has established a new end-of-life care room at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center as a joint/ collaborative effort. “We believe that this is the first and only such respite room located within a long-term care facility in Vermont,” Daily said.

The new ARCH room is exclusively dedicated to individuals seeking endof- life care who are unable to complete their lives at home. While most people would prefer to die at home, in many cases this is just not possible due to many factors. This option allows families to feel safe and cared for during a very challenging time, due to the home-like setting and exceptional professional staff.

Peter Jensen, ARCH board chairman, who has worked on this initiative for over 6 years, has seen the dedication of community members finally come to fruition. “The long term goal is to make these peaceful rooms available to every one regardless of their ability to pay.

The new room is only part of the overall delivery of hospice care—a program of palliative and supportive care services providing physical, psychological, social and spiritual care for dying persons, their families, and loved ones. The actual care of the residents is provided by trained professionals from Helen Porter, Addison County Home Health & Hospice, Hospice Volunteer Services, Partners in Palliative & Home Care and primary care providers” said Jensen.

A recent pledge of $25,000 by the Middlebury Lions Club has been received and used to offset the cost of renovating and furnishing this spe


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Area Medical Practices Working Toward National Certification under
Vermont Blueprint for Health

By the end of this calendar year, Addison County will be home to several medical practices newly certified as “Patient Centered Medical Homes” as part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health program. This certification is granted by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and reflects the “successful implementation of many rigorous criteria intended to strengthen the physician-patient relationship by replacing episodic are based on illnesses and patient complaints with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship”, according to Dr. Eileen Fuller of Middlebury Family Health.

Middlebury Family Health and Porter Internal Medicine are slated to achieve this recognition in July and have been the local leaders in securing NCQA certification during the spring/summer of 2011. Other practices scheduled to achieve this distinction by the end of the year are Addison Family Medicine, Bristol Internal Medicine, Rainbow Pediatrics, Middlebury Pediatric and Adolescent medicine, Neshobe Family Medicine and Little City Family Practice.

According to the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association the “medical home” model of care means that each patient has an “ongoing relationship with a personal physician who leads a team that takes collective responsibility for patient care”. The physician-led care team is responsible for providing all the patient’s health care needs and, when needed, arranges for appropriate care with other qualified physicians.

According to the NCQA web site, a medical home also emphasizes enhanced care through open scheduling, expanded hours and communication between patients, physicians and staff. “NCQA’s Physician Recognition Programs identify physicians who deliver superior care using standards firmly rooted in medical evidence. To date, nearly 10,000 physicians nationwide have been recognized by NCQA in the areas of diabetes care, cardiovascular care, back pain care and practices that systematically provide preventive and chronic care” according to the NCQA web site.

Among the aspects of care measured by PCMH certification are:

  • Access and CommunicationPatient Tracking and Registry Functions
  • Care Management
  • Patient Self-Management Support
  • Electronic Prescribing
  • Test Tracking
  • Referral Tracking
  • Performance Reporting and
  • Improvement
  • Advanced Electronic Communications

“Every local practice involved in this important work has navigated its way through many different elements, sometimes documenting processes already in place, and sometimes needing to develop new processes, but they have done this in a way that has allowed them to achieve these required elements, while always focusing on improving patient care all along the way,” according to Jean Cotner, Vice President for Porter Practice Management and chair of the local Blueprint Steering Committee.

According to Cotner, the overarching goal of this work is to enhance collaboration, coordination and communication throughout our Addison County health care community to improve the patient experience, deliver the best care possible and use technology in new and better ways.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Hospital Diabetes Program Earns National Accreditation

MIDDLEBURY--The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) recently granted national accreditation to the Porter Hospital Diabetes Program. This accreditation recognizes that Porter offers a program of comprehensive and critical diabetes education services to the people of Addison County.

According to Staff Development Coordinator Elaine Coon, diabetes education is a collaborative process through which people with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes, gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions. At Porter, all of the programs are provided by specially trained diabetes educators.

“We are very excited to have our diabetes program accredited and look forward to continuing to provide high quality diabetes education to our community” Coon said.

“Our 4 week diabetes self management program includes self management skills in healthy eating, being active, monitoring blood sugar, diabetes medications, problem solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks” she added. The classes are taught by Kate Myerson RD,CD, CDE, Elaine Coon RN, CDE, Dayton Contois PT, and Renee Mosier Pharm D.

Porter Hospital offers both daytime and evening diabetes education classes. For more information, please call 388.4760.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2011                                             RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

PMC Lifeline Program to Transition to Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center

Middlebury--The Porter Medical Center “Lifeline” emergency response program which serves nearly 600 members of our community, will be transitioning from Porter Hospital to Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center over the summer.

“The Lifeline Program has been a vital service for hundreds of our elderly neighbors here in Addison County for decades, and we are very pleased to be incorporating the existing staff, subscribers and program into our Helen Porter family”, said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber.

This transition is intended to be “invisible” to our subscribers, with Monica Sanchez and Pat Watkins continuing in their roles working directly with the subscribers and no other immediate changes. Even the telephone number (388-8817) will remain the same for now, although this will change over the summer when the office is moved into a new location. A letter with this new information and any other specific updates will be sent to all current subscribers via mail.

“The hospital has done a great job of building the Lifeline Program and serving our community for years, our goal is to keep this program strong and growing to meet the needs of our Addison County neighbors”, Gruber said.



MIDDLEBURY – The Open Door Clinic is on the move. The non-profit clinic, which provides primary care services for the uninsured, has shared offices with Champlain Valley Cardiovascular Associates for the past five years. When the cardiovascular group closed, the clinic was forced to find new accommodations. Porter Hospital stepped in and provided donated space in a modular unit for the clinic. More...


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Friday, March 4, 2011                                                          RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

New Hospice Room to be Established by ARCH at Helen Porter

MIDDLEBURY--An agreement signed earlier this month between Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) will soon result in the creation of a new “Hospice Room” to be located within HPHRC.

“The new ARCH Hospice Room at Helen Porter ushers us into a relationship that promises to be exciting and dynamic” said ARCH board president Peter Jensen. “ARCH has admired the courage and commitment of Helen Porter as they have candidly assessed their model of care and concluded that change is necessary; the creation of this new, home-like hospice room is another positive step in this journey”, he said.

In recent months, Helen Porter has introduced a major new “Culture Change” program that will transform many aspects of both the facility and the programs to respond to the changing needs and expectations of our community.

“Nursing homes have a reputation of being very institutional in both appearance and in the services provided, we at Helen Porter are putting all of our energy and many resources into changing that here in Addison County, and the new ARCH Hospice Room is the latest step,” said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber. The newly renovated hospice room, which will be located on the “Otter Creek Way” area at Helen Porter, is scheduled to be completed in early May. According to Gruber, the goal is to create a very comfortable, peaceful “home-like” environment for people unable to spend their final days in their own home.

The new room is only part of the overall delivery of hospice care, which is described as “a program of palliative and supportive care services providing physical, psychological, social and spiritual care for dying persons, their families and loved ones” according to Jensen. He says that the actual care for residents of the ARCH Hospice Room will be provided by “trained professionals from Helen Porter, Addison County Home Health and Hospice and Hospice Volunteer Services.”

“ARCH considers the culture of Helen Porter and the care it provides to be of critical importance to this new joint project and we embrace the opportunity to be located at HPHRC so that this collaboration can benefit many in our community”, he said. Referrals to the new ARCH Hospice Room at Helen Porter will be made by a person’s physician according to Jensen.

According to Gruber, this new space will be an invaluable resource for many local families who cannot care for their loved one at home during their final days, but who still want a home-like space that offers comfortable surroundings not traditionally found in a nursing home or hospital.

“We are excited about this new project and believe that it will be the first step in what we anticipate being a long, positive and growing relationship between ARCH and Helen Porter to better serve our community” Gruber said.


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Monday, February 7, 2011                                                   RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Governor Peter Shumlin to Deliver Keynote Address at Porter Medical Center Annual Meeting

MIDDLEBURY--The 2011 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Tuesday evening, February 22nd at 7:30 p.m. in Room 216 of Bicentennial Hall on the campus of Middlebury College. The keynote speaker will be Governor Peter Shumlin. The meeting is free and open to the public.

“With state-wide health care reform as a key priority of our new Governor, the potential impact on Vermont of the Federal health care reform legislation of 2010, and the complexities, challenges and importance of designing and implementing many significant new initiatives related to both of these, this should be a very interesting meeting,” said PMC Chairman Ann Hanson.

In addition to the remarks by Governor Shumlin, brief reports will be provided by PMC Board Chair Ann Hanson, PMC President, James L. Daily and Medical Staff President Dr. Ben Rosenberg regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010                                            RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Internal Medicine Seeking National Certification as a
“Patient-Centered Medical Home”

MIDDLEBURY--The staff of Porter Internal Medicine, with support from other members of the Porter Practice Management department, has nearly completed the first phase of a major new initiative in preparation for active participation in the Vermont Blueprint for Health program. The PIM practice anticipates being the first Porter owned practice to achieve certification as a “Patient-Centered Medical Home” from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The patient-centered medical home is a model for care provided by physician practices that seeks to strengthen the physician-patient relationship by replacing episodic care based on illnesses and patient complaints with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship.

The American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association have jointly defined the medical home as a model of care where each patient has an “ongoing relationship with a personal physician who leads a team that takes collective responsibility for patient care”. The physician-led care team is responsible for providing all the patient’s health care needs and, when needed, arranges for appropriate care with other qualified physicians.

According to the NCQA web site, a medical home also emphasizes enhanced care through open scheduling, expanded hours and communication between patients, physicians and staff.

“NCQA’s Physician Recognition Programs identify physicians who deliver superior care using standards firmly rooted in medical evidence. To date, nearly 10,000 physicians nationwide have been recognized by NCQA in the areas of diabetes care, cardiovascular care, back pain care and practices that systematically provide preventive and chronic care” according to the NCQA web site.

Among the aspects of care measured by PCMH certification are:

  • Access and Communication
  • Patient Tracking and Registry Functions
  • Care Management
  • Patient Self-Management Support
  • Electronic Prescribing
  • Test Tracking
  • Referral Tracking
  • Performance Reporting and
  • Improvement
  • Advanced Electronic Communications

According to Porter Practice Management Vice President, Jean Cotner, PIM has been working toward certification since the beginning of July. They have had weekly meetings involving the leadership group at PIM (Lisa Quesnel, Office Manager, Brad Armstrong, Lead Physician, and Wendy Covey, Lead Nurse), along with PPM (Dawn Martin, Jean Cotner, or Melissa Moore).

“In addition to the leadership group, there have been meetings with all of the staff at PIM as they were working their way through some of the elements, and I have been so impressed by their commitment to this project and how they have all come together to do this” said Jean Cotner.

“The staff has worked their way through many different elements, sometimes documenting processes already in place, and sometimes needing to develop new processes, but they have done this in a way that has allowed them to achieving these required elements, while always focusing on improving patient all along the way.”
“This effort has really taken team work from the whole office to develop the new processes and sustain that work over a long period of time” she added.

According to Cotner, the staff at PIM has been extremely diligent about fine-tuning their processes and she says that strong inter-office communication throughout the practice has been the key to their success.

At least two other Addison County practices are well underway with these certification efforts, with a goal of having all three NCQA certified by July of 2011.


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010                                            RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Welcomes New Providers to our Community

Our Porter Practice Management Department, under the leadership of Jean Cotner, has been successful in recruiting many new providers to Addison County. Several of these providers have already started practicing in our area, or will begin working at Porter Hospital and one of our PPM practices in the weeks ahead.

On August 1st, Katherine J. Wagner, M.D. joined Addison Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Wagner received her undergraduate degree from Middlebury College in 1998 and graduated from the UVM College of Medicine in 2006. She has served as a Senior Lab Technician and in the Sports Training Room at Middlebury College; as well as a dispatcher/receptionist in the Porter Hospital Emergency Department.

Also on August 1st, Michael S. Graham, M.D. joined Addison Family Medicine. Dr.
Graham received his undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University in 2002 and graduated from New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York in 2007. He then did a Residency Training at UVM in Family Practice that was completed 2010.
He specializes in sports medicine and is also interested in adolescent/young adult health.

On August 16th, Sepinoud Bazel, M.D. also joined Addison Family Medicine.
Dr. Bazel received her undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College, Allentown Pennsylvania in 2003 and graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in 2007. She then did a Residency Training at the University of Connecticut in Family Medicine that was completed in 2010.

At the end of September, Laura Wilkinson, FNP, MSN will join Dr. Brad Armstrong at Porter Internal Medicine. Ms. Wilkinson received her undergraduate degree from UVM in 2001 and graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2005.
She has served as a clinical nurse in a North Carolina Maternity Care Unit from 2001 to 2005 and then as a House Manager at the Vermont Respite House in Williston from 2000 to 2001.

At the beginning of October, Naomi Hodde, M.D. will also join Porter Internal Medicine.
Dr. Hodde received her undergraduate degree from Middlebury College in 1994 and graduated from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2002. She then did a Residency Training in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. She has done clinical training/research in a rural southern African Hospital in 2002. She also served as a Hospitalist at the Evergreen Medical Center in Kirkland, Washington from 2008 to the present before coming to Vermont.

Each of these new providers is currently accepting new patients. More information can be obtained by calling the individual practices listed above.


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Thursday, June 10, 2010                                            RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Auxiliary Approves $28,000 in Contributions

MIDDLEBURY--The Porter Medical Center Auxiliary Board of Directors approved $28,000 in contributions at their monthly meeting on June 9th. The contributions include $15,000 to Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for a new “Decentralized Dining” Project, $1,000 toward an improvement project for Libby’s Trail (Porter’s handicapped accessible nature trail), $6,000 for an exam Table for Porter’s new Palliative Care Practice and $6,000 for the hospital’s Lifeline Program. The source of these funds are the Round Robin Upscale Resale Shop, the annual Kentucky Derby Day benefit and membership dues.

“We are extremely grateful for these outstanding contributions from the Porter Medical Center Auxiliary in support of these important projects and programs that benefit our patients, residents and the community we serve”, said PMC President, James Daily.

The $15,000 HPHRC donation will support a project that is central to the new “Culture Change” efforts to transform Helen Porter into a more home-like environment. The $1,000 contribution for Libby’s Trail, created in memory of Elizabeth Brakeley by her family, will provide resources for a general maintenance project to ensure that this trail is in good condition for the residents of Helen Porter or other community members to enjoy. The Lifeline funds are used to allow Porter to provide this in-home emergency response program to local people regardless of their ability to pay the monthly subscription fee, and the additional $6,000 will be used at Helen Porter to acquire a special exam table for residents who also are patients of the Palliative Care practice.

The Porter Medical Center Auxiliary is a membership organization open to everyone in our community. Information about membership can be obtained by calling the Porter public relations office at 388-4738.


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May 24, 2010                                                                RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY—Every student who will graduate next month from area High Schools will be celebrating a significant milestone and accomplishment in their life and academic career. But four young women, Mae Murdock (Shoreham), Alex Sears (Cornwall), Ashley Tatro (Bristol), and Kali Trautwein (Middlebury) will be celebrating a very special accomplishment. These graduating seniors were also enrolled in the Health Careers Program at the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center (PAHCC), a 2-year program designed to provide them with skills and experiences that have prepared them to pursue a career in a variety of health professions, according to the program instructor Rita Wells, RN, MSN. “Health Careers is a dual enrollment program with the Community College of Vermont (CCV), meaning that students who successfully complete the 2-year curriculum at PAHCC will graduate from High School with college credits from CCV in Medical Terminology and Human Biology.

A third college course can be completed independently by the student for a potential of 9 college credits by the time they graduate high school. In addition, the students are certified in Basic Life Support, First Aid, and have the potential to become licensed as a Nursing Assistant (LNA) by the Vermont Board of Nursing,” Ms. Wells said. “It offers the students a tremendous start in pursuing a career in health care, and none of this would be possible without the wonderful collaboration between PAHCC and Porter Medical Center.”

Three years ago, Porter and PAHCC resurrected the Health Careers Program in order to provide local high school students with exposure and opportunities that could lead to professional careers in the health field. The classroom and lab component is provided at PAHCC and the hands on experiences are offered at both Porter Hospital and Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

“Our students rotate through every clinical area of the hospital, which gives them an incredible overview of various disciplines and the relationship between departments. It provides the students an opportunity to experience what it might be like in a particular area and help them decide their path as a health professional,” Wells said. “Thanks to the efforts of HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber; the Hospital’s administrator James Daily and Vice President for Patient Care, Pat Jannene; as well as Steve Boudah and Karen Herrmann from the Volunteer Department; our students have had doors opened to them that have provided invaluable experiences,” added Wells.

Wells also expressed appreciation to the Hannaford Career Center and Porter Hospital board of directors for the commitment of organizational resources and the recognition of both the contributions this is making to our local youth, but also the wisdom of attracting local students to health careers. “These young people will go off to college to become nurses, doctors, therapists, etc. and many will return to Addison County for their professional career – it is a win-win situation.”

As part of the senior curriculum, these students also venture out of the region for exposure to national health issues. Last month, the students traveled to Washington, D.C. where they attended a national conference on kidney disease at the National Institutes for Health, observed physical therapy sessions with returning military personnel at the Walter Reed Medical Center, and had a private meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders to discuss national health care reform.

In addition to the four seniors who have completed the 2-year program, there are six students who will be completing their first year in June. They are senior Brittany Thompson (MAUHS), who will be attending nursing school in the fall; and juniors Alix Bradley, Nina Edson, Lillian Hamilton, Leah Norris and Kimberly Shaw. “Their commitment certainly showed during a recent visit to HPHRC on prom night to visit the residents in their gowns and bring them flowers,” Ms. Wells stated. Also according to Wells, interest in this successful program is growing. “I had nearly double the number of applicants from students wanting to enter the program next fall, than I could accept; but I encourage all students interested in a health career to keep working hard and follow their passion. Those that couldn’t be accepted can re-apply next year.”

”It is so incredible to live in a community where this level of collaboration exists and where everyone is focusing on what is good for our students and what is best for the future of our local, regional and national health care work force,” Wells said. “After all, these students will be our future health care providers.”


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April 8, 2010                                                                RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital Receives Komen Grant for Cancer Screening Program

MIDDLEBURY--Porter Hospital has received a grant of $5,000 from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in support of Porter’s Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program and a new collaborative effort with the Open Door Clinic of Addison County. The grant will allow Porter to serve women with low cost or free screening mammography services who come to the program either via a new series of Women’s Clinics sponsored by the Open Door Clinic, or via Porter’s established network of primary care physician referrals.

The Porter Hospital Breast Cancer Screening and Education Program provides free or low-cost screening mammography services to area women who do not have health insurance, do not qualify for any other type of program that covers this screening, and/or who have such high deductibles that they would not avail themselves of this important screening service.

This year’s grants from the Komen Foundation are targeted to supporting new collaborations that will extend to additional providers of services the opportunity to utilize Susan G. Komen resources to improve early detection services according to Porter’s Vice President for Development Ron Hallman.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the Open Door Clinic as they expand their “women’s health care clinics” from two per year to four per year specifically through greater outreach to area women to inform them of the availability of these free or low-cost mammography services”, he said. The grant funding will be used for direct patient care services (screening mammograms) for the women who come to this long-established program via this new collaboration.

The Open Door Clinic plans to provide four Women's Health Clinics in Addison County for un/underinsured women over the next year. According to ODC executive director, Julie Arel, these clinics will ensure a high-quality, woman-friendly environment in which to receive comprehensive health services for women who are underserved and doubles the number currently offered while expanding to include the town of Bristol as a clinic site.

“In 2007, 13% of all women in Vermont were uninsured, and the National Women's Law Center reports that women are even more vulnerable when uninsured or underinsured than are men” she said. “Women need to spend a greater share of income on health needs by virtue of earning less than men, are underinsured at higher rates, and are more likely to suffer from a chronic condition requiring ongoing care”. She added that the ODC provides women ongoing access to healthcare through their regular weekly clinics as needed. However, she says that the Women's Health Clinics offer something more. “It is an environment where women are assured of seeing providers that are all women themselves, they are encouraged to apply for insurance and seek stable ongoing care for themselves and we try to empower women to understand their need to be actively engaged in their healthcare and to identify ways to better manage their health through prevention” she said.

In addition to a stronger emphasis on access to screening mammography services, this project addresses a variety of health needs of women through the direct provision of healthcare by volunteer physicians and nurses (the majority of whom are employees of Porter Hospital). This includes preventative women's healthcare and attendant lab tests such as pap tests, evaluation of acute or chronic illness, referral to specialists for cardiovascular, gynecologic, orthopedic and other needs, access on-site to physical therapy, and HIV/AIDS counseling and testing offered anonymously.

At these clinics, women not only will receive healthcare provided by the all-female staff and volunteers, but also receive assistance completing applications for health insurance, information and counseling from a dietician, smoking cessation services and nicotine replacement therapy, and have access to ongoing case management support.

“Un/underinsured, high risk and vulnerable women residents of Addison County (and some surrounding towns) who lack access to health care is the target population” she said. “In 2009, 418 women were served through the ODC, an 11% increase over 2008 numbers, and it is estimated that the four clinics proposed will serve approximately 70 women.” All eligible women seen at the clinics will be assisted in filing an application for state insurance through Green Mountain Care and will be enrolled in Vermont’s Ladies First Program and offered smoking cessation services if appropriate. One of the primary and ongoing goals is to find every patient who comes to one of the Open Door Clinics a permanent “medical home” in an existing, local primary care practice.

“Earlier preventive care, including mammograms, can mean the difference between an easily treatable illness and long-term morbidity, high healthcare costs, and even death due to delayed treatment,” Arel said. “We are pleased to be partnering with Porter Hospital in this grant-supported effort to enhance access to important services for the women of our community.”


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April 7, 2010                                                                RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Helen Porter Receives Grant for New Culture Change Efforts and Programs

MIDDLEBURY--Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has received a grant of $23,700 from the State of Vermont in support of its efforts to pursue a new “transformational project” to define, implement and evaluate an innovative model of resident care.

The grant comes from the “Enhancing Quality of Life” program via the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) and will support Helen Porter’s efforts to work collaboratively with their board, physicians, residents, families, staff and the broader Addison County community to change their long- established “medical model” of care to a new “social model/person-centered model” according to Helen Porter administrator Neil Gruber. “Our overarching goal is to pursue a culture change within our organization to enhance the quality of life for our residents and build a positive community that fosters high quality and compassionate care in a manner that promotes independence, respect and dignity”, he said.

According to Gruber, this process of “culture change” will not simply be a cosmetic improvement intended to improve how our organization appears internally and externally—it truly will impact and change the fundamental way that residents, families, staff and community experience the organization via very specific changes.

“The basis for this culture change project is our sincere belief that the traditional model of nursing home care and the current perspectives, interactions and relationships that exist within our facility and many others does not represent the very best environment for providing the highest quality resident care” he said.

“We have presented to our board of directors our plans to embark on an intensive period of transformation over the next several months that began with the drafting of a new Mission Statement and Vision Statement to serve as the foundation for our work. These statements will be our reference points and guide the many concrete actions, decisions and changes that we will pursue” Gruber said.

He added that these statements are being developed in concert with residents, families and staff, and will be based on a core list of “values”. “In our preliminary conversations with these internal members of our HPHRC family, the initial list of these values include: respect for each person as an individual, promoting the highest level of dignity for residents, promoting greater collaboration and teamwork, ensuring autonomy and independence, building a positive community, fostering healthy relationships and pursuing excellence in everything we do”.

The project coordinator, Nancy Schaedel, is excited to have received this grant and is very enthusiastic to implement a number of new initiatives. “As we move forward, we do so in order to create a safe and caring environment, which fosters both positive relationships and a sense of community. We envision a home filled with love, dignity and quality service, and working together as a team to ensure a sense of collaboration and open communication, where every person is valued as an individual and as a member of a larger community” she said.

Beyond creating new Mission, Vision and Value statements, HPHRC will undertake a comprehensive effort to educate residents, family and staff about what “culture change” is and how to accomplish it. “Changing from a medical model to a social and person- centered care model will require that we change our appearance, philosophy and language, such as changing our terminology from “nursing units” to “neighborhoods” and giving these new neighborhoods names as selected by our residents, families and staff,” Gruber said.

“In our early conversations with our residents, families and staff about our plans to move forward with this project, we have received some important and specific feedback that could define our efforts including: less noise on the units, quicker answers to call bells, more privacy, freedom to eat what they want and knowledge of menu prior to meal service, a coffee shop that is always open, freedom to sleep as late as they want, clutter free hallways, and mirrors at wheelchair height,” he said.

Although the implementation of this culture change transformation will encompass many specific activities, outreach efforts, a new “wellness programs”, etc…over time, one of the primary programmatic changes Gruber envisions is the establishment of a new end- of-life “Namaste Care Program” for residents with Dementia. This program will be modeled on the highly successful program at the Vermont Veterans Home and will address the physical, spiritual and psychological needs of the residents.

In anticipation of this new program, the administration of HPHRC has already identified a physical space within the facility that can easily be transformed to serve as the Namaste Care unit. They also have received a donation of $4,500 from the family of one of their residents that Gruber anticipates using these funds to support the creation of this space.

According to Schaedel, this Namaste Care Program has been successfully implemented in several nursing homes and hospice organizations. She says that Namaste Care strives to maintain the highest quality of life possible for individuals with severe and terminal dementia. This care involves the creation of a special room that provides a quiet, peaceful environment for residents in the last stage of their disease. Meaningful activities are individualized for each resident and a continuous presence of staff members provide both physical and sensory stimulation. This “high-touch” care can be taught to all staff as well as family members. “The family members, particularly, appreciate the attention given to their loved ones,” she said.

She added “The need for programs that would be suitable for individuals with severe and terminal dementia is strong if we are to prevent them from progressing into a vegetative state and help them to continue to enjoy personal contact and stimulation.”

Schaedel says that Namaste Care provides residents and their families with quality care that addresses not only physical but also emotional and spiritual needs. “It reminds us that individuals with advanced dementia should not be isolated in their rooms, but need to live their last days in a pleasant environment receiving loving care from all staff and families,” she said.

The Components of our Namaste Care Program will include development of a personalized mission statement, development of criteria to determine which residents would benefit, staff selected based on the desire to work with Namaste Care residents, special education and training, soothing and comfortable environments, comfort care approaches, special programming, and grief comfort and bereavement service referrals.

“As we move forward with this effort and these internal improvements, we envision that we will do so in communication and collaboration with other area organizations” Gruber said. “We have had preliminary conversations, for example, with members of the “Addison Respite Care Home” organization (which is developing plans for improving services to area people in hospice care), the “Living Well” organization in Bristol (which offers a variety of outreach programs and services to improve the quality of life of elderly people such as their “Living Arts” program), and others” Gruber said.

As a part of the culture change project and the implementation of the Namaste Care Program, Gruber says that Helen Porter will actively engage these organizations and others in our community in an ongoing dialogue regarding how we can collaborate with programming or long-term projects that will enhance and/or increase services available to the residents of HPHRC and the elderly population of Addison County more broadly.

“We are very excited to have received this grant, and we believe that our project will greatly improve the quality of resident care at HPHRC, and also serve as a model for other Vermont nursing homes” Gruber said.


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Friday, March 17, 2010                                                 RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital to Offer Diabetes Wellness Fair

Middlebury--Porter Hospital will be hosting a free community health fair focusing on topics of importance to people with Diabetes on Saturday, March 27th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Collins Building conference area.

The “Diabetes Wellness Fair” will feature speakers covering important topics including “Diabetes and Depression” to “Taking Control of your Diabetes”, as well as cooking and exercise demonstrations, food sampling, nutrition information and door prizes. Free blood pressure checks and blood glucose screenings will be available as well.

This event is made possible via the generous financial support from the Vergennes Union High School senior class of 2009, which donated $2,500 last spring in memory of their classmate, Taylor Vigne, who succumbed to Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13 in 2005.

“We are proud and pleased to organize this community health event thanks to the thoughtful generosity of the VUHS seniors, and we hope that many members of our community will participate and learn more about how to better manage their Diabetes”, said Elaine Coon who is organizing the event for Porter. For more information call 388-4776 or 388-4723. This event is free and open to the entire community.


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Friday, March 8, 2010                                                 RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Hospital Sees Improvement in 2010 CMS Quality Indicator Scores

MIDDLEBURY--During the first five months of its current fiscal year, Porter Hospital has recorded significant improvements in its “Core Quality Measures” scores for the major diagnostic groups reported annually by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Since 2005, CMS has been collecting data from hospitals throughout the United States on 31 “Quality Measures” and publishing this data annually in order to “provide information to consumers and encourage hospitals and physicians to improve quality of care” according to their web site. These 31 indicators are divided into four groups or “core measures” that have gained widespread public attention in recent years, as they are generally reported to the media on a state- by-state basis each spring. These four core measures are: Surgical Care Infection Prevention, Community Acquired Pneumonia Care, Congestive Heart Failure Care and Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Care.

Although Porter Hospital has had only one patient during the current fiscal year who met the clinical criteria for the AMI Quality Indicator given the limited number of patients who would receive these services in a small community hospital, Porter’s scores for the other three indicators are 100% (Surgical Care Infection Prevention), 100% (Congestive Heart Failure) and 90% (Community Acquired Pneumonia). These scores reflect how well an individual hospital performs in “meeting specific goals for a variety of individual care components based on nationally accepted standards of care and current evidence for best clinical practice”, according to Pat Jannene, Vice President for Patient Care.

“We are extremely gratified by the results this fiscal year in our quality indicators scores that are a direct result of the hard work by our nurses, physicians and other clinical staff who have worked together to review and improve our processes of care”, she said. “These measures focus on how well we document the specific procedures and treatments within these diagnostic categories, and we have provided education, developed new processes, established concurrent reviews and redeployed staff resources to positively affect change and improve our results”, she said.

The initiatives that led to these most recent positive results were launched nearly a year ago, when the CMS indicator data for 2008 showed that Porter Hospital had not scored as well as other Vermont hospitals on these four core measures relative to documentation and performance. Although these new programs and efforts were developed and implemented within weeks of the release of the 2008 scores, most of the data for the 2009 scores had already been collected due to the significant “lag time” between the collection and reporting of this data. Thus, the improved quality indicator scores for fiscal year 2010 will not be published until the spring of 2011.

“Every member of our clinical staff was disappointed by the 2008 scores, and we realized that by the time we became aware of these results, most of the data for 2009 had already been submitted”, Jannene said. “Therefore, we decided that it was going to be one of our highest priorities for 2010 to ensure that any quality indicator scores for Porter Hospital are a true indication of the outstanding care we provide each and every day”, she said.

“We thought that it was important to share with our community the most current information available and demonstrate the significant improvements we are now seeing across the board in these publicly reported quality measures”, said Dr. Ben Rosenberg, President of the Porter Hospital Medical Staff and a member of the Porter board. “Given the lag time in the reporting by CMS on a national level, we wanted to share with our local community the data for fiscal year 2010 and all of the new resources that have been put into place to maintain these positive outcomes in the future”, he added.

Looking further ahead, CMS plans to continue to add new quality measures that will capture results related to outpatient services and radiology services. “Now that we have built up the infrastructure and our internal resources to respond to these new requirements as they come down the road, we feel that our data will continue to demonstrate our long standing commitment to providing the highest level of quality care for all of our patients”, Jannene said.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Monday, March 5, 2010                                              RON HALLMAN, (802) 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY--The 2010 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Thursday evening, March 25th at 7:00 p.m. in room 216 of the John M. McCardell, Jr. Bicentennial Hall on the campus of Middlebury College. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The guest speaker for Porter’s annual meeting will be Dr. Diana Barnard, who will report on the new “Partners in Palliative and Home Care” practice and share her insights and experiences in helping to develop this innovative new program and why it is an important new resource for our Addison County community. According to PMC board chairman, Joe Sutton, there is a very strong interest throughout our community in the development of end of life care and palliative care services that recognize and support the very real and special issues faced by patients and families during this phase of health care delivery. “I am confident that Dr. Barnard’s presentation will be informative and contribute to a very interesting annual meeting program,” he said.

In addition to the remarks by Dr. Barnard, brief reports will be provided by Sutton, PMC President, James L. Daily and Medical Staff President Dr. Ben Rosenberg regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.

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Monday, January 11, 2010                                       RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY--Two long time and popular Middlebury medical practices have merged and relocated to a new office on Exchange Street.

Cedar Ledge Family Practice, most recently at 99 Court Street, and Champlain Valley Family Health, formerly on the campus of Porter Hospital, have consolidated their practices into a single practice named Addison Family Medicine. As of January 13th, this practice began operations in Catamount Park on Exchange Street in Middlebury.

“We are very excited to have moved into a brand new, larger and more modern medical office space with lots of convenient parking for our patients and much improved exam and clinical areas for our staff”, said Porter Vice President for Practice Management Jean Cotner.

Although operating out of a new space with a new practice name, all of the providers names are familiar members of the Middlebury medical community. They include physicians Tim Cope, Maja Zimmerman, Scott Smith and Jessica Rouse, as well as mid-level practitioners Tom Beauregard and Alison Parker. During the summer of 2010, a fifth physician, Dr. Michael Graham, will join the practice.

The telephone numbers for the new practice are 388-6777 or 388-7185.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tuesday, December 22, 2009                                   RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Offers New Non-Invasive Procedure for Patients with Acid Reflux Disease.

MIDDLEBURY--Dr. Carl Petri, a general surgeon at Porter Hospital, is now offering a new, less invasive surgical treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) using a recently acquired surgical device and innovative technique that does not require an incision. According to Dr. Petri, because the procedure does not require an incision, there is reduced pain for the patient, shorter recovery time and no visible scar.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as “acid reflux”, is often treated with medications which can relieve patients’ heartburn symptoms, but which do not solve the underlying anatomical problems that cause the discomfort, or prevent further disease progression. According to Dr. Petri, the new procedure creates a valve between the stomach and esophagus, which restores the natural physiological anatomy to prevent the reflux.

“GERD is a very common condition, and this new technique can significantly improve quality of life for our patients,” said Dr. Petri. “Many reflux patients are unable to drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages or eat rich foods or fruit without triggering reflux. They also sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux. After this procedure, most patients should be able to eat and drink foods they avoided for many years.”

Additionally, Dr. Petri points to recent clinical studies showing that this procedure can reduce a patients’ dependency on medications, with 70% of patients remaining symptom free after two years. “My belief is that this new procedure will produce significant benefits for a persons quality of life, potentially eliminate the need for acid reflux medications and do so via a minimally invasion technique and without even a small incision”, he said.

Individuals who believe they could benefit from this new service should consult their primary care physician, or may contact Dr. Petri’s office at 388-9885.


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Thursday, December 10, 2009                                                   RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Embracing Change to Improve Performance: Implementation of an Electronic Health Record System at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center

A two-year journey, led by a multi-disciplinary team of clinical, technical and administrative staff, resulted in the successful implementation of a comprehensive new Electronic Health Record system at the Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Middlebury, Vermont.

Information related to this implementation effort, along with a summary of some of the key achievements in the areas of improving the quality of care, financial performance and overall operational efficiency were provided by key members of the HPHRC team at the annual conference of the American Health Care Association this summer. It was the first time in the history of Helen Porter that they had been invited to make an educational presentation at a national conference, and they were eager to share both their accomplishments and the challenges resulting from their significant transformation from manual to electronic systems.

According to a 2008 study by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the use of electronic information systems by nursing homes is “considerably higher than previous estimates and compares favorably to other health care settings.” The report indicates that approximately 43 percent of U.S. nursing homes maintained electronic health records compared to 25 percent of physician offices and 59 percent of hospitals according to a survey of their members.

In Vermont, however, only a handful of the State’s 40 nursing homes have fully integrated electronic health information systems at this time—and the experience and success of the Helen Porter implementation has generated a good deal of interest among colleagues throughout the region.

“At the very beginning of this process, we decided to go for the whole loaf and overhaul our clinical and financial systems concurrently,” said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber. “We recognized that if we could implement a system that allowed our staff to enter resident information once for all clinical and financial applications, we could make significant strides toward improving resident care, maximizing appropriate reimbursement and doing so in the most efficient way possible.”

It was not easy. One of the slides used in the power point presentation to the AHCA attendees is entitled: “Implementation is Hard!”…and goes on to list specific steps that helped ease the transition including holding weekly meetings, having a specific agenda each time, be supportive of each other, keep pushing but be flexible with deadlines, and always seek input from those who will be expected to use the system. Gruber also emphasized the importance of frequent communication.

“We created a special newsletter, prepared special and frequent written updates for our physicians and staff, and spent a lot of time walking around and talking to staff about what we were doing and how they were feeling about the project”, he said.

In addition to all of the human elements that go into a successful implementation project, Gruber said that there are a number of other factors that need to be accomplished. “You need to choose the right software for your organization that fits your style and culture, have some depth in the implementation team and recognize that physician buy-in is key,” he said. The HPHRC implementation team including Gruber, along with the director of nursing services, rehabilitation director/admissions coordinator, assistant administrator, an administrative assistant and some “off site” IT consultants.

In addition to selecting the right team and software, hardware components for the new system included a centralized server, secure local area network, a kiosk with both touch screen and keyboard capability, and wireless laptops on medication carts. The total cost for the hardware and software components of the system were under $250,000.

The final phase of this project centered around evaluation of results and the celebration of achievements. “We have been able to measure improvements in quality indicators such as fewer medication errors, fewer documentation omissions, and less time spent charting--and thus more time spent at the bedside with residents,” Gruber said. He cites other specific examples of success including a smaller than expected increase in overall operating expenses of just 1.2% from 2007 to 2008, reduced administrative staff time, and overall satisfaction from members of the HPHRC clinical staff. “These results, along with a steady increase in our case mix scores and commensurate increases in our Medicare reimbursement are clear evidence that this has been a worth-while effort and an important accomplishment for our team and our staff,” he said.

Looking ahead, Gruber is already anticipating the next steps of interfacing their system with Porter Hospital, as well as exploring other opportunities to use the new system for staff education and other applications. Or as he puts it, “Our technology journey continues….”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Thursday, October 8, 2009                                                   RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital Adjusts Visiting Policy to Birthing Center during flu season

MIDDLEBURY--With the flu season upon, Porter Hospital has made some changes in the visiting policies on the Birthing Center, according to Kathy Hoxsie, Nurse Manager of the Unit.

“The number of visitors allowed to visit mom and baby will be limited to two, and it will be helpful if these visitors remained the same throughout the stay” Hoxsie said. “The father of the baby will be allowed in at all times but must wear a mask if any signs or symptoms of illness and visitors under the age of 18 will not be allowed onto the unit.”

According to Hoxsie, there will be special visiting hours for siblings – who must be symptom free of illness such as fever and or cough—between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. each day. No other children will be allowed onto the unit as visitors.

Visitors should expect to be greeted at the door to the Birthing Center by staff, who will be asking questions about illness. Any one with any signs of illness will not be allowed onto the Unit. “We also will ask that everyone use good hand washing at all times” Hoxsie added.

“We are asking our patients to please help us by informing family and friends of these new policies before you come into the hospital, as we are doing this to protect you and your new baby as well as the other families on the unit” Hoxsie said. “We do strongly encourage you to get your seasonal flu shot as well as the H1N1 vaccine. “

She said that this policy may change as the season progresses, and that the hospital will keep the patients and community updated.


Special Event in October to Support Porter Hospital Diabetes Programs

The Vergennes Union High School and Champlain Valley Christian School Classes of 2010 have a initiated and will be participating in a Walk-a-thon for Diabetes in memory of a classmate the mornings of October 6,7,8. They will walk 20 miles to Porter Hospital raising funds for the Porter Hospital Diabetes Program that directly serves Addison County communities and beyond.

If you want to make a pledge or walk, please contact any VUHS senior…or call the Porter Hospital Development Office at 388-4738 at the hospital and Lisa Obrien at VUHS. Credit cards, checks or pledges are accepted

Thank you for your support of this very special and important effort by VUHS and CVCS students.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Monday, September 21, 2009                                  Contact: Ron Hallman 802-388-4744


Porter Hospital Receives grant from the Walter Cerf Community Fund

MIDDLEBURY—Porter Hospital has received a grant of $3,000 from the Walter Cerf Community Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation to support the establishment of the new “Partners in Palliative Care” practice. The practice is staffed by Drs. Diana Barnard and Will Porter, as well as nurse practitioner Leslie Orleup and began operations this month.

According to Dr. Barnard, the new practice represents an innovative and patient-centered approach that focuses on the special needs of homebound patients with serious and chronic illness and their families.

“The work of the new Partners in Palliative and Home Care practice will emphasize quality of life and life-closure issues, managing disease processes so as to minimize suffering, and helping patients and their families adjust to the changes brought on by advanced illnesses. It will promote comfort and support for patients and their families while dealing with the unique challenges of a life-limiting illness” she said. “The overall goal is to allow the patient to live at home with as much space, dignity and personal control as possible.”

“We are very grateful to the trustees of the Walter Cerf Community Fund for this very generous grant that will support the start-up expenses for what promises to be a very important new community service”, said PMC President, James L. Daily.


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Friday, August 7, 2009                                                RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital to Establish new “Partners in Palliative and Home Care” Practice

On September 1, Porter Hospital will establish a new medical practice in Middlebury, staffed by Dr. Diana Barnard and Dr. Will Porter, that will focus exclusively on providing palliative care services for dying patients in their homes or, if necessary, in the hospital or nursing home. According to Dr. Barnard, the new practice, “Partners in Palliative and Home Care”, represents an innovative and patient-centered approach that focuses on the special needs of terminally ill patients and their families.

“The work of the new Partners in Palliative and Home Care practice will emphasize quality of life and life-closure issues, managing disease processes so as to minimize suffering, and helping patients and their families adjust to the changes brought on by advanced illnesses. It will promote comfort and support for patients and their families while dealing with the unique challenges of a life-threatening illness” she said. “The overall goal is to allow the patient to live with as much space, dignity and personal control as possible.”

In response to the recognition of the needs of patients who confront serious, life-threatening and terminal illnesses and their families, enhanced palliative care has been identified by Porter Hospital to be a key community need according to PMC President, James L. Daily. “Our goal is to establish a new medical practice that will be staffed by physicians who have a passion for this work and a goal of providing care that focuses on quality of life, control of pain and symptoms and attention to the psychosocial and spiritual experiences of adapting to advanced illness” he said.

Additionally, new pain management standards issued by JCAHO have also helped to raise awareness of the need for palliative care in the hospital setting. In addition, there is growing recognition among hospital and hospice leaders that patients and families are in need of a more integrated continuum of care from their local delivery system, and that community healthcare providers have a responsibility to assure that such a continuum is available.

“For the people of our community, expanded access to coordinated high-quality palliative care can help facilitate greater personal autonomy and control over their care and treatment choices and bring a degree of humanity and sensitivity to illness-related emotional, psychological and spiritual issues that otherwise might get lost in the delivery of traditional medical treatment” Barnard added.


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Monday, August 3, 2009                                               RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Expands Local Cardiology Services with New Provider and Facilities

MIDDLEBURY--The Porter Hospital Cardiology practice will be significantly expanded both in terms of clinical hours and specific outpatient services with the arrival of Dr. Sanjay Bose in September.

In addition to his board certification in general cardiology, Dr. Bose is board eligible in Interventional Cardiology and has completed three years as a Cardiology Fellow with extensive experience covering the full spectrum of clinical cardiology.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Dr. Bose to our community, as well as grateful for the opportunity to offer a full-time/full-service cardiology program for our local patients and in support of the work of our primary care physicians,” said Porter cardiologist Dr. Andrea Fossati. “Dr. Bose will be seeing patients here in our Porter campus office four days each week, and also working one day each week up at Fletcher Allen in the cardiac catheterization lab with our patients.” According to Dr. Fossati, Dr. Bose will bring to Porter Hospital new expertise and the ability to perform both non-invasive and invasive cardiology services that our current Porter Cardiology practice does not offer. “This will be tremendously convenient for our local patients,” she added.

Dr. Bose, a resident of Shelburne, Vermont, has completed cardiology fellowships at New York Methodist Hospital, Texas Tech University Health Systems and Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut (an affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine). Prior to coming to Vermont, Dr. Bose was the Director of Echocardiography, Exercise Stress & Holter Labs and the Sleep Lab at Hardin County General Hospital in Illinois.

In anticipation of Dr. Bose’s arrival at Porter in mid-September, the hospital is in the midst of completing a renovation project to expand and improve its entire rehabilitation department, including new space for cardiac testing.

Information about these new services and appointments can be made by calling Porter Cardiology at 382-3443.



Vermont community hospitals form shared network
Three facilities join together


Three community hospitals have formed the not-for-profit Vermont Hospital Shared Service Network. The presidents and boards of trustees of Copley Hospital in Morrisville, Gifford Medical Center in Randolph and Porter Medical Center in Middlebury created VEHSSN to enhance collaboration and the development of shared services among the three not-for-profit, rural Community Access Hospitals as permitted by law.

James Daily, president of Porter Medical Center, Melvyn Patashnick, president of Copley Hospital and Joseph Woodin, president of Gifford Medical Center, began talking late last year about establishing a nonprofit entity that would enable the hospitals to legally work collaboratively. In February, they engaged Helms & Co., Inc., followed by Downs Rachlin & Martin PLLC in March, to formulate an organizational structure for the new collaborative.

The hospitals funded the startup effort with an equal contribution of capital. The network's purpose is to add value for the three hospitals through reduced expenses and improved quality. Any incremental costs related to the network are to be offset or exceeded by demonstrated cost savings, quality improvements and service enhancements.

Among the areas of collaboration the group is exploring: the joint negotiation and purchase of medical insurance; shared service opportunities with information technology, cooperative recruitment and staffing of physicians and allied health professionals; and identifying other opportunities to enhance service, quality and/or productivity.

The network recently received a grant from the Vermont Rural Hospital Flexibility Program. The organization will work this summer to create implementation plans for collaboration and conduct evaluations as appropriate.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Monday, July 13, 2009                                                   RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center To Receive National Award In Recognition Of Continuous Quality Improvement

MIDDLEBURY—Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has been recognized as one of the 2009 recipients of the Step I National Quality Award presented by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). This year 664 nursing and assisted living facilities from across the nation applied for the quality award at this level. Awards will be presented during AHCA/NCAL’s 60th Annual Convention and Exposition, October 4-7, 2009 in Chicago.

“We applaud Helen Porter for having passed this first step that demonstrates their intention to begin a rigorous quality improvement program, and look forward to their moving forward to pursue the requirements for the Steps II and III awards in the coming years,” stated Bernie Dana, Chair, AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Board of Overseers, one of the nine members that oversee the program.

Applicants for the Step I level award have a clear vision and mission for their facility and acknowledge key challenges that are embodied in the organizational profile section of the Malcolm Baldrige criteria. The Step I award recognizes providers that have developed a foundation to begin a journey of continuous quality improvement, and that they have taken the first step in corresponding with any public measures of performance.

AHCA/NCAL is a trade organization with approximately 11,000 members. Since 1996 AHCA/NCAL has used the concepts of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award as the basis for its three step program for the long term care profession. At the Step I level,applications are reviewed by Examiners who have received special training to qualify as judges for the award program.

“This recognition of the quality of care provided to our residents by a national organization is extremely gratifying,” said HPHRC administrator Neil Gruber. “It is a real testament to the dedication of our staff to provide outstanding care to our residents, strive to continuously improve our services, and work collaboratively in a very challenging environment.” Gruber points to the implementation of a new electronic medical record system as the most recent tangible achievement related to their ongoing efforts to continually improve quality, safety and efficiency.


Radiology Goes Cutting Edge

(Reprinted from the Addison Independent, 6/25/09, article by Kathryn Flagg)

Nearly 14 years after its creation, Porter Medical Center’s radiology department—squirreled away in the basement of the hospital—is once again at the cutting edge of its field.

Radiologists at Porter are heralding the hospital’s new digital mammographic unit as the best in Vermont—and as the capstone of a several-year project to upgrade the department’s equipment.

The full-field digital mammographic unit, which the hospital began using in May, could help Porter radiologists better detect early signs of breast cancer in women. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. Early detection is key to increasing survival rates in women with breast cancer.

“Mammography has been proven time and time again at diagnosing breast cancer at a very early stage where it is treatable. (It) makes a huge difference in survival, and especially disease-free survival,” said Dr. Stephen Koller, the chief of Porter’s radiology department. “You can catch the cancer when it’s curable.”

Porter radiologists had already been performing mammographies for some time, but the old equipment captured images on film. Those images, particularly when they were taken of younger women’s more dense breasts, didn’t always offer the ideal amount of detail. The lower quality of those images made searching for signs of potential cancer difficult.

That’s where the hospital’s new technology comes into play. The new mammographic unit takes digital, high-resolution images of women’s breasts. Now, Koller said, the digital image provides doctors with a much higher degree of detail—especially when it comes to examining younger patients.

According to Koller, it’s especially important that equipment used for screening tests—that is, precautionary tests performed on an otherwise healthy population—be topnotch. Otherwise, he said, radiologists end up chasing a lot of red herrings, which means more unnecessary procedures.

Also, radiology equipment exposes patients to a small dose of radiation. Avoiding the so-called red herrings, Koller said, means that doctors can sometimes avoid needlessly exposing patients to radiation.

In the dark room where radiologists examine the results for these screenings, Koller bent over the keyboard, pulling up a file on the large computer screens. On one half of the screen was a digitized copy of an old film. The image showed an X-ray of a woman’s breast, but the edges were blurred, the tissue inside at best indistinct.

“This was the best we could do for a long time,” Koller said. On the other side of the screen, Koller pointed out a much more distinct, detailed image of the same woman’s breast that was captured with the new machine.

These new digital images can also be processed with a computer program that helps radiologists better identify potentially troublesome areas on an image.

In addition to providing better images, the new machine has another major plus: “tungsten tube” technology that reduces the amount of radiation to which a woman is exposed by 30 percent. The tungsten tube technology is brand new, Koller explained, and the Porter radiology department is the only one in the state with this equipment.

The new machine—as well as improvements to the room where the machine is housed and the waiting room where women gather before their exams—cost the hospital almost $500,000. As a part of this project, the radiology department also expanded the women’s changing room where patients wait for their mammographies to be performed.

“This is a hospital, but these women getting these screening tests are outpatients,” Koller said. “We don’t want them to feel like they’re in a hospital when they’re here. We want them to feel like they’re in a comfortable environment.”

Because all women should have a yearly mammography once they turn 40, Koller said, the hospital sees a lot of traffic. Typically, around 340 women per month come to Porter for mammographies, and the hospital sees between 3,000 and 4,000 patients a year for the procedure.

And Koller and other members of the radiology department hope that those numbers will go up. Women who may have left the county for more advanced screenings at larger hospitals now have the option of staying closer to home, and still having access to the best mammographic equipment in the state.

Porter radiologists also hope that the new equipment will make exams quicker and more efficient for doctors and patients alike. The mammographic machine upgrade is just one of many changes in the radiology department over the last few years. Two summers ago, the department went digital. Any tests that were still developed on film were then scanned into a computer archiving system, and radiologists began examining tests on computers instead of the light boards where they’d once attached x-rays.

The hospital also added a 64-slice CT scanner to its roster, as well as what Koller said is the most advanced bone density machine. The bone density machine, like the mammographic unit, is commonly used to address women’s health issues.

“Now, after this wave of improvements, we are right back up on the cutting edge,” Koller said. That was possible, he added, with the help of a supportive hospital board that focuses on putting patients first. That’s the same approach Koller has taken to upgrading the department.

“I always view this from the perspective of, ‘What would I want for my own family?’” Koller said. “That’s what I want for all of my patients.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tuesday, June 23, 2009                                            RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Dr. Amy Gregory, an Ophthalmologist, joins Eye Care Associates

Dr. Amy Gregory, an Ophthalmologist, has joined Eye Care Associates in Middlebury. She will be seeing patients in the Exchange Street Office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Fridays, Dr. Gregory will split her time between the office in Rutland and the office in Ticonderoga, New York.

Dr. Gregory is a graduate of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and earned her medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine in 1995. She went on to her post-graduate training as an Ophthalmology Resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from 1995 to 1999. She was in a full-time general Ophthalmology private practice in Shawnee, Oklahoma from 1999 to 2009. She was also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center from 2001 to 2009.

Dr. Gregory is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and practices comprehensive ophthalmology including medical and surgical eye care for patients of all ages. She has special interests in oculoplastic surgery for the correction of eyelid abnormalities and in new technology cataract surgery to reduce dependence on glasses.

Dr. Gregory is accepting new patients at this time. For more information or to schedule an appointment call, 388-6565.


Porter’s Transition to Electronic Patient Records
[Reprinted with permission by the Addison Independent - posted 6/3/2009]

Porter is moving forward with an expensive but potentially life-saving plan to transition to electronic medical records.

Once in place, hospital officials hope, electronic medical records could smooth transitions for patients being transferred between hospitals, save time and money at doctors’ offices, and improve patient care.

But the full transition, once Porter chooses a company to oversee the switch, could take as long as two and a half or three years, and ball-park estimates place the cost of creating an electronic records system between $3 million and $5 million.

Assuming that Porter selects a suitable contractor in May or June, said Porter Vice President for Finance Duncan Brines, the switch to electronic records likely won’t begin to kick in until at least late next winter or early spring. Once that switch happens, said Ron Hallman, the medical center’s Vice President for Development and Community Relations, Porter might qualify for reimbursement through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For the medical center’ patients, the transition will largely occur behind the scenes. That doesn’t mean it won’t improve patient care, Brines said, offering the example of a trauma patient who might need to be transferred to Fletcher Allen in Burlington. That patient would head north with an electronic medical record rather than a paper file, a difference that could expedite the transfer. The electronic file would include the patient’s medical history, as well as photographs and notes especially tailored to the doctors on the receiving end.

On a day-to-day basis, he said, electronic records will likely save both patients’ and doctors’ time, cut back on mistakes, and protect files from potential destruction.

For now, Brines said, Porter is focusing on selecting the right company and technology to do the job. They’ve narrowed their choice down to two vendors who will each be visiting the hospital next month to run demonstrations of their products.

In addition to considering the cost of a new electronic medical records system, Brines said, Porter is also eager to find a system that will be compatible with other Vermont health care providers, is easy for Porter employees to use, and that won’t become out-of-date quickly.

Protecting patient privacy, Brines said, is another key concern for the hospital. “The security issues are something we have to deal with every day,” he said. “We have security systems now. They’re always changing. The number of potential viruses and ways of accessing confidential data are just enormous. We are just continuously updating whatever systems we have.”

In a perfect world, he said, the system would integrate clinical applications, financial and billing services and administrative functions.

Right now, employees from all of those departments are weighing in on the proposed systems.

It’s not three people in an office around a computer,” Brines said. “It’s really nurses, doctors, lab techs, billers, medical records people. It’s any number of people involved in the review.” He admitted that any electronic system will eventually become outdated, but said that now seems like the right time for Porter to move forward with the transition. “Should you wait or not?” Brines asked. “If you keep waiting, you wait forever.”

What’s more, he said, the transition to this technology has been on Porter’s radar screen for six or seven years. Now, Brines went on, the first wave of hospitals have already implemented medical records, and Porter is in a position to learn from their successes and failures.

“As a small rural hospital we don’t want to take chances on technology that may or may not be cutting edge,” Brines said. “We’d like somebody else to work out some of the bugs. (Now) we think we’re in a reasonably good spot.”

Porter won’t be alone as they move toward an electronic medical records system. The recovery bill signed by President Barack Obama in February commits $19 billion in grants and incentives for companies and practices to buy health information technology, and Brines said that Vermont is also making a big push for sharing data, and creating compatible records that can be shared between facilities.

“We’re all going through a process,” Brines said. “Over the next two to three years you’re going to see a major investment in information technology.”


Friday, April 3, 2009                                            RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital Signs “Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge”

MIDDLEBURY--On Monday, March 30, Laura Brace, Director of Food Services at Porter Hospital, signed the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge, a voluntary commitment by hospitals nation-wide to identify, adopt and implement local, nutritious and sustainable food in healthcare. The pledge acknowledges that healthy food is defined not only by food that is nutritious, but also equally by a food system that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable and supportive of human dignity and justice.

“This is a huge opportunity to build upon our current efforts and improve what we are doing here at Porter for our patients, families and staff,” says Laura. “This is a chance to not only be more aware of existing possibilities but also be proactive to learn about the many new resources available to us”, she said.

In keeping with the philosophy of this program, Porter’s food service operation is currently involved in several initiatives that ensure that fresh, local fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products are served routinely to patients and staff.

Additionally, Laura Brace has become a Certified Master Gardener with the UVM Extension Service and an active participant in the hospital’s Recycling Committee in an effort to increase her knowledge and involvement in programs that promote the environment and support the local economy.

Other less visible steps that Porter has taken to be more environmentally friendly in our dietary department include replacing the dish-room sprayer with a low flow valve to save water and replacing plate heaters with a combination heaters to reduce electric costs.

According to Brace, Porter has always worked with local farms and food vendors to purchase fresh products, such as turkeys from a poultry farm in Orwell, milk, cottage cheese, sour cream from Monument Farms Dairy in Weybridge, eggs/maple syrup from Maple Meadow Farms in Salisbury, beef from Greg’s Meat Market in Middlebury and apples from Champlain Orchards.

Brace also has a long list of new ideas to investigate including possibilities of introducing composting, even more local purchasing, serving only fair trade coffee, exploring more recycling opportunities, introducing reusable water bottles and mugs for staff and a starting a community/organization garden. She says that her department has some specific short-term goals, such as revising patient menus to be trans fat free, as well as some long- term goals such as a vegetable swap during the summer months.

Porter Hospital joins the more than 200 hospitals across the country that have signed the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge including Hackensack University Medical Center, the fourth largest healthcare facility in the country, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Catholic Healthcare West health system, the largest US Catholic healthcare system. Here in Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Northeastern Vermont Regional also have signed the pledge.

Vermont Fresh Network’s Vermont Coordinator for the “Healthy Food in Health Care” Initiative, Alyssa Nathanson said “Porter is demonstrating leadership not only for our community, but for the country. We are fortunate to have a facility like this take a leadership role in Vermont. We hope that more hospitals across the state will follow suit.”


Tuesday, January 6, 2009                         RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

2009 Porter Annual Meeting

MIDDLEBURY--The 2009 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Friday evening, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in room 216 of the John M. McCardell, Jr. Bicentennial Hall on the campus of Middlebury College. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The guest speaker for Porter’s annual meeting will be Congressman Peter Welch, who will be making his first trip back to Vermont following the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. “We are looking forward to having Congressman Welch as our speaker and hearing his insights concerning new or emerging health care and economic policy initiatives on the federal level,” said PMC board chairman Joe Sutton. “There is a very acute interest among the public in the widely anticipated economic stimulus package now being developed by Congress and the incoming Administration, and we hope that this interest will contribute to a very interesting annual meeting” he added.

In addition to the remarks by Congressman Welch, brief reports will be provided by Sutton and PMC President, James L. Daily, regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.


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