Gifford Specialists Bring Quality Care Close to Home

This article was published in our Spring 2016 Update.

Gifford specialists are supported by the most current advanced diagnostic technology and offer a range of specialty services—all conveniently located right in your community, with easy access and parking. Specialty services include:

• cardiology
• general surgery
• neurology
• oncology
• ophthalmology
• orthopedics
• podiatry
• sports medicine
• urology
• rehabilitative services that include physical, occupational, and speech therapies

New Providers on the Specialty Services Team

General Surgeon Dr. Mario Potvin

General Surgeon Dr. Mario Potvin Born and raised in Quebec City, Dr. Potvin brings nineteen years of experience in general surgery, advanced laparoscopy surgery skills, and extensive knowledge of endoscopy and GERD investigation. He practiced in Canada for six years before accepting a position with the Mayo Health Systems in 1997. He has lived and practiced in Minnesota since then, but wanted to move closer to family in Quebec.

Oncologist Dr. Eswar Tipirneni

Oncologist Dr. Eswar Tipirneni Board certified in both internal medicine and hematology/oncology, Dr. Tipirneni is now seeing oncology patients one day a week in Randolph. He is also a provider in the UVM Health Network, and so brings the resources of an academic cancer research center to his patients at Gifford, including participation in multidisciplinary tumor boards and current clinical trials.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Anthony Fazzone

Anesthesiologist Dr. Anthony Fazzone has worked in several area hospitals, including the University of Vermont Health Care System, Springfield Hospital, and the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH. He has a special interest in regional anesthesia, which uses nerve blocks, spinal taps, or epidurals to help patients avoid high doses of medication and provide pain relief for patients after surgery.

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Federal Award Supports Increased Substance Abuse Services

This article was published in our Spring 2016 Update.

federal funding

Gifford was one of four Vermont health centers to receive Affordable Care Act funding in March for programs that will help address an escalating national heroin epidemic. The Department of Health and Human Services award will be used to expand substance abuse services, especially those for people addicted to opioids.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Martin Johns said Gifford is collaborating with the Clara Martin Center to support a SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment) model of care. The award will primarily fund additional staff for the program (a primary care provider with training in substance abuse treatment, a
social worker, and supporting staff).

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to expand services for alcohol and drug dependence and misuse in our community,” said Johns. “These funds will allow us to increase patient access and to collaborate with other community organizations to provide seamless, all-encompassing treatment for those seeking help.”

Nationwide $94 million in Affordable Care Act funding was awarded to 271 health centers in 45 states. The other three organizations in Vermont that received funding were the Community Health Centers of Burlington, Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region, and Northern Counties Health Care in St. Johnsbury.

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2016 Summer Concert Series Seeks Farmers Market Vendors

Sign up now for free vendor space at popular summer community concerts

farmer's marketFree space is being offered to vendors who sign up to sell or promote products at the community market held during the 2016 Summer Concert Series in Gifford Park.

The summer concerts, now in their 5th year, are a partnership between Gifford Medical Center and the White River Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Starting on Tuesday, July 5th, and continuing for the next seven Tuesdays, there will be a different family-friendly concert in Gifford’s park (front lawn) on Route 12 in Randolph. Families bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets for an evening of fun, food, and music starting at 6 p.m. and ending around 7:30 p.m. This year there will again be weekly food offerings prepared by a different nonprofit agency during each performance.

There is space for 10-15 vendors per show, so sign up now and reserve a spot to sell produce, flowers, baked treats, crafts, and other farmer’s market items at these popular community gatherings. Contact Emma Schumann, 728-2339; eschumann@giffordmed.org.

The 2016 concert schedule:

JULY 5: South Royalton Band; food offered by Randolph Center Fire Department
JULY 12: Jennings & McComber (Green Mt Indie Folk); food offered by Gifford’s Last Mile Ride
JULY 19: IHS Kava Express (Funk Rock); food offered by White River Valley Chamber of Commerce
JULY 26: Tim Brick (Country); food offered by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department D.A.R.E. prgram
AUG 2: John Lacard Band (Blues and Classic Rock); food offered by Randolph Rotary Club
AUG 9: Dave Keller Band (Smooth New Jazz); food offered by Stagecoach Transportation and Sunrise Rotary Club of Randolph
AUG 16: Swing Noir (Gypsy Jazz and Hot Swing); food offered by TBD

The 2016 Summer Concert Series on Gifford Park is brought to you by the Frankenburg Agency and the Chandler Center for the Arts.

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A Word from Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara, Medical Staff President

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara

Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara

I have been president of the Gifford medical staff for three years and a practicing physician for more than 25. Like most healthcare providers, I have had to embrace change to keep current with medical technological advances while providing quality care.

This year Gifford has seen a transformation in both our external structure and internal organization. While many in the community may understand the benefits of new technology and remodeling, they still have a need for what is familiar.

Gifford’s familiar dedication to quality healthcare remains steadfast. While some patients and families have had to say goodbye to the provider who has cared for them for decades, they can feel confident that our extraordinary team of new providers share Gifford’s vision and mission.

Patients can trust in the collaboration of Physicians, PAs, NPs and Certified Nurse Midwives to deliver the quality care they have come to expect at Gifford. Behind the scenes, refinement of leadership in Primary Care as well as a new Chief Operating Officer role will further enhance the patient experience.

Our external changes this year included moving our Menig residents to a new home in Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community and a seamless relocation of our inpatients to new private patient rooms. End-of-life care continues to be a priority at Gifford. We now have two Garden Room suites dedicated to patient’s and their families at the end of life.

Through all the changes, one thing endures: Gifford’s mission and dedication to quality patient care and support of our community from birth through the end of life.

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Work by Randolph Center Artist Paul Calter at Gifford Gallery

“The View from Braintree Hill,” by artist Paul Calter

“The View from Braintree Hill,” by artist Paul Calter

“Close to Home,” an exhibit of sketchbook pages by Randolph Center artist Paul Calter, is on display through June 29, 2016, in the Gifford Medical Center Art Gallery.

The 39 landscapes were created in locations within ten miles of Randolph during a period spanning nearly 50 years. Each scene is numbered and keyed to a map of the area hung near the exhibit.

“There’s no need to travel to an exotic location to find something to please the eye,” Calter writes in his artist’s note. “Sometimes I would set up an easel, but more often I’d just find a rock to sit on, with my pad in my lap, or sketch standing with a small pad in one hand and a brush in the other.”

In 1968 Calter left an engineering job in New York City to teach mathematics in Vermont, where he also began to draw, paint, and sculpt. He earned a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in sculpture from the Vermont College of Norwich University (now the Vermont College of Fine Arts) in 1993.

Calter’s paintings and sculptures have been commissioned and exhibited around the region. He has permanent pieces featured at Vermont Technical College, Castleton State College, and Gifford. His pieces at the hospital include a fountain in the Courtyard Garden (donated in 2009) and a marble carving of a nurse located near the inpatient unit, (donated 2012).

This exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be displayed through June 29, 2016. The gallery is located just inside the hospital’s main entrance at 44 S, Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. Call Gifford at (802) 728-7000 for more information.

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E. Berton Whitaker Named Interim CEO of Gifford Health Care

Bert Whitaker

Interim CEO Bert Whitaker

E. Berton (Bert) Whitaker has been named interim CEO of Gifford Health Care in Randolph. He will be working with Gifford’s board of directors and Sr. Leadership team until a permanent chief executive is in place.

A national search to replace former CEO Joseph Woodin, who left after 17 years at Gifford, is anticipated to take six to eight months.

“Bert is a great fit for Gifford and our community in this period of transition,” said Peter Nowlan, board vice-chair and head of the search committee. “He prides himself on effective communication, financial stability, and quality performance.”

Whitaker, who is from Chattanooga, TN., was selected from a pool of eight applicants. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky and is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives.

He has been in health care administration for 35-years and has held both CEO and interim-CEO positions in a variety of hospital settings, large and small healthcare organizations, acute and long-term care facilities, and multiple physician group practices. This is his fourth interim position since retiring as CEO and President at Baptist Health in Madisonville, Kentucky in 2013. Most recently he served as interim CEO of Calais Regional Hospital in Maine.

“Gifford has a clear vision, a solid and engaged board, and great staff. This organization is well positioned to go through this transition,” he said. “My role during this period is to respond to issues as they come up, and to balance a celebration of the good things at Gifford with gathering information so I can flag any issues or problems that may need to be resolved.”

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Personalizing High Tech: Keeping core values while opening to change

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Gifford laboratory

Lab technicians Susie Curtis and Matt Clayton

Gifford’s laboratory, tucked into the heart of the hospital, provides essential services that touch all areas of patient care. Open 24 hours, the lab performs chemistry, hematology, blood bank, and microbiology tests so providers can diagnose and treat their patients.

The expertise and quality of our lab is well-recognized: when Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspectors spent two days looking at the competency of staff, equipment, and all analytic processes (from blood drawing, testing, and delivery of results to providers), Gifford’s final score was “100 percent.”

“I’m amazed by the number of tests we perform here now,” says Laboratory Technician Susie Curtis, who has witnessed many changes in her more than 40 years in the lab.

She’s seen many “best practices” evolve. People no longer smoke in the lab or use their mouth to pipette, and now everyone always wears gloves. But she says one thing has remained the same: at Gifford the patient is the #1 concern.

“We always try to accommodate special situations—for example, a courier can bring specimens to the lab from a community clinic if a patient is unable to travel to Randolph.”

There have been major lab renovations and equipment upgrades, but Curtis says the biggest change has been in technology she uses every day.

“When I first started, the glucose testing machine was huge and it took forever to get results,” she said. “Now a machine half the size does 20-30 tests at a time.”

Over the years Curtis was mentored by several colleagues who had spent most of their careers here. They provided a sense of continuity, and passed on the importance of preserving Gifford’s core values while embracing change. Today she finds herself in that role, and enjoys working with new lab technicians like Matt Clayton.

“Matt is fresh out of school and has innovative ideas—we talk about them,” she said. “I explain why we do certain things the way we do, and together we come up with an approach that is best for the patients.”

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Sophisticated Equipment, Less Travel, Compassionate Care

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Gifford mammography

Gifford’s Lead Mammographer Terri Hodgdon

When Lead Mammographer Terri Hodgdon came to Gifford in 1991, the Radiology Department had four full-time employees and she took medical images in just two areas. Now patients come for mammography, ultrasound, X-rays, MRIs, and interventional radiology treatment. The darkrooms are gone (images are digital now), and the department is staffed by nearly a dozen people, including technologists at the Sharon and Berlin clinics.

This growth responded to a need for local radiology services, so patients could avoid travelling for care. Hodgdon sees primarily sports-related injuries when working in Sharon, but in Randolph she helps patients with mammograms, cardiac and lung issues. The newest procedures use interventional radiology (using medical imaging for breast biopsies, to place PICC lines, or to find and drain abscesses), which are less invasive than surgery.

“In radiology you have to be a perfectionist—it’s really important that everything is lined up perfectly,” said Hodgdon. “Still, easing people’s anxiety is a big part of my job. We’ve expanded. We have the newest technology, but helping the patient through the process still comes first. That’s stayed the same over the years.”

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In-House Imaging Expertise for Faster Reports

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Gifford’s radiologists Drs. Alan Ericksen and Jeffrey Bath

Gifford’s radiologists Drs. Alan Ericksen and Jeffrey Bath

For many, “Radiology” brings to mind a room filled with intimidating X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, or mammogram machines. Few think about the people behind the cutting-edge equipment, specially trained physicians who translate images into accurately diagnosed diseases or injuries. These specialists work closely with providers to troubleshoot and find the most effective treatments for patients.

Last spring Gifford hired two new radiologists, Dr. Jeffrey Bath and Dr. Alan Ericksen, to create our first employee-staffed Radiology Department (radiology services were previously contracted through outside private practices).

This change strengthens our personalized patient-care focus by providing seamless physician collaboration and shorter reporting times. Using new voice recognition software, the radiologists can read images and dictate their findings right into the digital storage system –often within just a few hours.

“With radiologists in-house the whole process is streamlined —I don’t have to wait for technicians to send images out as I’ve had to do in larger hospitals,” said Pediatrician Dr. Christina DiNicola. “In an emergency I could have a report within 20 minutes, the time it takes a patient to cross the street to radiology, have the procedure, and return to my office to discuss treatment!”

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The Best Beginnings: Personalized, 24-Hour Support for Moms and Newborns

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Gifford's Birthing Center

(L to R): Bonnie Hervieux-Woodbury, Ronda
Flagherty, Karin Olson, Kim Summers, Mary Borie, Bonnie
Solley, Jennifer Davis

For more than 35 years women have traveled from all over to have their babies at Gifford. Our nurses are famous for their loving care — many have helped welcome multiple siblings to a family.

“Our certified nurse midwives and Birthing Center nurses provide compassionate, personalized labor support for low-intervention births,” said Director of Women’s Health Bonnie Hervieux-Woodbury. “Women are attracted to Gifford because we offer a variety of choices, including epidurals and the back-up support of three ob/gyn physicians.”

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