From Our Annual Meeting
Tracy Dolan at the Moth-Inspired Story-Telling Hour

At our 2019 Annual Meeting kick-off event, comic Tracy Dolan told a story about her experiences with the health care system.

Watch a video of Tracy's story.

In the News
Engaging Local Legislators in Healthcare’s Transformation
St. Albans Messenger

The transformation of Vermont’s healthcare system from fee-for-service reimbursement to a capitated, population-health-based system is one of the major efforts at play in the State. It requires aligned priorities for the Governor’s office and the Legislature; the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) and Vermont’s not-for-profit hospitals; all the payors (including insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid); and employers and individuals. Shifting our collective focus to prevention to bend the cost curve while maintaining the sustainability of providers is crucial to Vermonters’ personal health and Vermont’s fiscal health. I was pleased that nearly all our local legislators were able to join members of the NMC Board, Medical Staff, and Leadership Team for a pre-legislative-session discussion on the progress of this transformation.

Jeff Tieman, the Executive Director of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, opened the discussion by providing a statewide perspective. “Hospitals are challenged right now, as at least half of Vermont’s hospitals are expected to report negative bottom lines.” Despite these financial challenges, Vermont “continues to be number four in the nation when measured on access, quality, and cost” and “the Commonwealth Foundation that measures healthcare systems nationally considers Vermont in the top tier.” That level of excellence should be a strong source of pride for all of us.

SVHC recognized for patient-centered care
Vermont Business Magazine

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) and Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) are proud to announce that each of its five primary care practices in Vermont—SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus in Wilmington, SVMC Internal Medicine in Bennington, SVMC Northshire Campus in Manchester, SVMC Pediatrics in Bennington, and SVMC Pownal Campus in Pownal—have achieved recognition for providing personalized, effective, and efficient primary care. The medical practices have been re-designated as Patient Centered Medical Homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

“To achieve this distinction takes enormous effort by teams of staff within each practice,” said Trey Dobson, MD, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s chief medical officer and medical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians. “We are so proud of our primary care practices for their drive to continually improve patient care in the ways necessary to earn recognition from the NCQA.”

The primary care medical home program identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their personal clinicians. A team of doctors, nurses, and other allied health providers oversees each patient’s care. The team ensures that care for all the patient’s health needs is coordinated across the health care system.

Bowse Health Trust in Rutland reveals 2020 grant awards
Vermont Business Magazine

Vermont Business Magazine For over 20 years the Bowse Health Trust (BHT) has awarded grant funds to collaborative community programs which measurably improve the health of Rutland County residents. This year the committee has approved funding for three innovative projects over the next three years. To date, the BHT has funded a total of 66 programs many of which are still operating.

Joan Gamble, Chair of BHT, said she is, “excited to be associated with BHT because of the reach and impact on our community, it has given over $4 million to improve the health of Rutland County Residents since its inception in 1997.”

The 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) identified the significant need for quality childcare, specifically for infants, and stressed the necessity to support the aging population in Rutland County. For these reasons, Rutland County Early Head Start, the Castleton Early Childhood and Special Education Initiative, and the Caregiver Support Program will receive BHT funding starting in 2020. The projects were selected because of a critical need for these services within our community. 
Regional trends complicate health care in Northeast Kingdom
VT Digger

 Older patients and fewer employees are putting a strain on Northeast Kingdom health care, according to industry professionals and officials.

About 40 people, including six state legislators, filed into Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury Thursday afternoon for a forum held by the Rural Health Services Task Force.

Attendees focused on workforce, coordination and fiscal challenges to health services in rural Vermont, considering in particular the struggles of the Kingdom, the state’s most rural region.

“I feel like our system is not fully prepared for our demographic reality, and part of this strain is the people we’re taking care of are older,” said Shawn Tester, chief executive officer of the St. Johnsbury hospital. “We’ve done a great job of keeping people alive longer, but then when they’re coming to us, they’re much more medically complex.”

Southwestern Vermont Health Care offers free paid training opportunity
Vermont Business Magazine

Over the past several years, Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) has trained hundreds of people to become licensed nursing assistants (LNAs). Many have gone on to rewarding careers in the health system’s skilled nursing facilities, in the hospital’s inpatient units, or in the Emergency Department.

“This is a great cost-effective way to begin a health care career,” said Eileen Wood, a program recruiter and contact person. “LNAs earn good wages, gain valuable experience, and help others. It can be very satisfying.”

The training typically costs as much as $1,400. Those who enter SVHC’s program agree to a 1-year contract, receive free training, and earn the starting hourly rate while they train.

Those who are interested apply and are hired at SVHC in the care assistant role. From there, they may be considered for a slot in the class and are provided with time off to complete the 3-week training and study for the state licensing exam.

“We have an excellent program with a good clinical foundation and lots of support for students,” Wood said. “Most of our students, more than 90 percent, pass on the first attempt and advance to become LNAs.”

Vermont officials to talk about drug importation plans

With the rising cost of pharmaceuticals in Vermont and around the country, officials are looking to save people money by allowing them to import drugs from Canada.

The Trump administration has been working on a way for states to import prescription drugs from Canada at a discounted rate.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and state health care officials want to submit an application to the feds next summer that could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country on how to import prescription drugs.
If all goes according to plan, Vermonters will be able to import drugs like insulin at a discounted price.

North Country Hospital First In Line To Support Gardner Park Restoration Project
Newport Dispatch

The local “Splash & Play” initiative received a big boost this month as North Country Hospital stepped forward as the first major sponsor for the project.

Significant renovations at Gardner Memorial Park planned for the fall of 2020 include upgrades to restroom facilities, improvements to pedestrian safety, major playground restorations and installation of a new 40’x40’ splash pad.

To date, the Newport Recreation Committee and the municipality have successfully raised over $300,000 toward the half-million-dollar ticket price through fundraising and grants.

North Country’s contribution will give another big push to close the gap between here and the finish line.

“We do our best to support health and wellness outside the walls of the hospital which includes encouraging projects that promote family activity and opportunities for healthy exercise,” Brian Nall, President and CEO of North Country Hospital, said. “This is going to be a wonderful addition to our community and we’re excited to be part of it.”

People in the News
Mark Your Calendar!
Tuesday, December 3, 12 p.m.

Wednesday, December 4, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, December 6, 5:30 p.m.
Resillience Occupational Therapy, Montpelier