Mario Potvin, M.D. Joins Gifford’s General Surgery Team

Dr. Mario Potvin

Dr. Mario Potvin

Dr. Mario Potvin has joined Gifford Medical Center’s general surgery team. A board-certified surgeon, he has lived in Minnesota for the last 19 years and most recently practiced at the Fairview Lakes Medical Center, in Wyoming, Minnesota.

Born and raised in Quebec City, Canada, Potvin earned his Medical Degree at the Universite de Montreal, Quebec, and completed a fellowship in Laparoscopic Surgery at Montreal General Hospital.

He practiced in Canada for six years before accepting a position with the Mayo Health Systems in Minnesota in 1997, and recently began looking for a position in New England so he could be closer to family in Quebec.

Potvin brings nineteen years of experience in general surgery, advanced laparoscopy surgery skills, and extensive knowledge of Endoscopy and GERD investigation. He likes to establish a direct and honest relationship with patients so they can discuss problems and treatment options together.

“I tell my patients that I’m here to give them the best treatment possible,” he said. “Sometimes this is surgery, sometimes there are other options to consider.”

Potvin has purchased a home in Randolph Center, and when not working enjoys skiing, reading, all kinds of music, and playing piano and guitar.

Gifford’s General Surgery team provides a wide range of services including skin lesion and cyst removal, comprehensive breast care, hernia treatment, and colonoscopies. To learn more about Gifford’s General Surgery program visit www.giffordmed.org, or call the General Surgery office at 802-728-2430.

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Work by Photographer Tina Grant at Gifford Gallery

Tina Grant photography

Provided courtesy of artist; “Barred Owl,” by East Roxbury photographer Tina Grant.

An exhibit of 31 photographs by Tina Grant is currently on display in the Gifford Medical Center Art Gallery.

Most are stunning close-ups of birds—cardinals, humming birds, bald eagles, tufted titmouses, and owls—that she has observed near her home in East Roxbury, Vermont.

Grant lived on a farm as a child and spent summers on Lake Winnipesaukee’s Mink Island, where she spent hours observing (and later photographing) the wildlife around her. When she grew up and had a home of her own, she put up birdfeeders and started watching and photographing birds.

Now Grant keeps her camera by her side, always ready to capture the many beautiful shots she sees outside her window, at her feeder, or in her travels.

“My friends have started calling me the Bird Whisperer—I tell them that you to need look up,” said Grant. “I am blessed to be able to see and photograph the many birds and animals I see. This exhibit is a way to share these blessings with everyone.”

This exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be displayed through February 10, 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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Gifford Seeks Philip Levesque Grant Applicants

Nonprofit community organizations encouraged to apply by February 12

Phil Levesque

Phil Levesque

Gifford Medical Center is seeking applications for the annual Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award – a $1,000 grant established in memory of the hospital’s late administrator. Applications must be received at the hospital by February 12, 2016.

The award was established by Gifford’s Board of Trustees in 1994 in memory of Levesque, Gifford’s beloved president and chief executive officer from 1973-1994.

Given annually to recognize Levesque’s personal commitment to the White River Valley, the grant is awarded to an agency or organization in Gifford’s service area that is involved in the arts, health, community development, education, or the environment.

“Philip Levesque was an admired leader who was dedicated to community service and improving our area,” said Ashley Lincoln, Gifford director of development and public relations. “We’re excited to be able to carry on his legacy through this grant, and encourage community organizations to apply.”

The hospital first awarded the grant in 1995. Past recipients include the Stagecoach, Orange County Parent Child Center; Quin Town Senior Center; Rochester, Hancock & Granville Food Shelf; South Royalton’s School Recycle Compost and Volunteer Program; Bluebird Recovery Program; Kimball Library; Bethel’s Playground Project; Chelsea’s Little League Field; Rochester’s Chamber Music Society; Royalton Memorial Library; Tunbridge Library; White River Craft Center; Safeline, Interfaith Caregivers; the Chelsea Family Center, and the Granville Volunteer Fire Department.

A committee of hospital staff and Levesque’s family will review the applications and choose a winner. The announcement of the grant recipient will be made at Gifford’s Annual Meeting in March.

Contact Ashley Lincoln at (802) 728-2380 or alincoln@giffordmed.org for application guidelines. Send completed applications by February 12, 2015, to The Philip D. Levesque Memorial Fund, Gifford Medical Center Development Office, 44. S. Main St., Randolph, VT 05060.

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Gifford Celebrates Opening of Private Inpatient Rooms

25 new inpatient rooms offer privacy, supportive environment for faster healing

Gifford inpatient roomsGifford Medical Center celebrated the opening of 25 new private inpatient rooms on December 17, 2015. The new unit brings an upgraded standard of inpatient care unusual for a small community hospital in Vermont.

“It really is amazing that a health care facility of our size can provide this level of modern care to our community,” Administrator Joseph Woodin told a group of supporters gathered for an opening ceremony. “The private room model is now standard for new construction, but renovating older units is often expensive and takes years to complete. We began planning for this nearly ten years ago, and have been able to complete our project on time, on budget, and with very little disruption for patients and staff.”

Private rooms reduce infections and stress, allow medical teams to bring technology and service directly to the bedside, and give patients the privacy they need for bedside consultations and family visits. This model of care has been shown to improve sleep, reduce stress, promote healing, and shorten hospital stays.

Careful planning, creative use of existing space, and input from staff throughout the construction process allowed the hospital to incorporate important upgrades to the new inpatient unit including:

• Two larger rooms for patients unable to move easily have overhead lifts that can glide into special in-room showers to accommodate bathing

• Two isolation rooms with an enclosed entry can be used for patients with airborne infections

• Two end-of-life care rooms open onto a courtyard garden and have adjoining space for visiting family members and friends

• A physical therapy room with outside access allows recovering patients to practice getting in and out of cars before leaving for home

• New wound-care tub room

• Centralized nursing station to promote teamwork and promote better communication

• Comfortable family waiting room with furniture that extends to accommodate sleeping

• A restful décor with paintings and photographs by local artists, gentle lighting, and hallway visitor hand-washing stations.

The long-term strategic planning behind this project began nearly fifteen years ago, when a new addition was built to house Menig Extended Care. Because it was built to hospital (not nursing home) standards, that space could be converted into the new private rooms when the Menig Nursing Home relocated to a new building in Randolph Center last spring.

The new Menig Nursing Home and private patient rooms are part of a three-phased project supported by the “Vision for the Future” capital campaign. The last phase of renovations will create a new centrally located Birthing Center, scheduled to open in June 2016.

“This is the largest fundraising effort in Gifford’s 112-year history. Thanks to generous community support and our dedicated volunteer campaign steering committee, we are $800,000 from our $5 million campaign goal,” said Development Director Ashley Lincoln. “Years of creative planning and good fiscal stewardship made it possible for us to create industry standard private rooms, respond to a real need for senior housing, and upgrade our popular Birthing Center in this one project. It has been so satisfying to see the finished projects open and operating this year!”

To learn more about the “Vision for the Future” campaign visit http://www.giffordmed.org/VisionfortheFuture.

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Christmas Spirit Brought to a Whole New Level at Gifford

Katie Duprey

Katie Duprey and her holiday deliveries

On December 18th, every employee on Gifford’s main campus arrived to find a bag filled with four homemade cookies and a homemade caramel, either waiting on their desk or hand-delivered by an amazing Christmas spirit wearing a bright red reindeer nose.

Katelyn Duprey, a RN on HP, worked the night shift last night. After her shift ended, she pushed a cart overflowing with treats to every section of the hospital, making sure she left a bag for each staff member.

It took 48 batches of cookie dough and 7 batches of caramel to fill the 465 bags. Duprey and her mother Gloria started baking on Monday morning, helped by two friends, and they finished filling the last bag at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

“I made up all the cookie dough in advance and we worked on a rotation system,” she explained. “Two trays of cookies in the oven, two trays cooling, and 2 trays lined with dough, ready to bake. “

Duprey began working at Gifford just before Christmas in 2013. Last year she made Christmas cookies for her co-workers on the HP/TCU units, adding extras for others in the hospital.

“I thought I gave out cookies to the entire hospital last year, but then I realized this year there were so many more here on the main campus!” she said. “So I counted up all the employees on the address book to make sure I had enough.”

“This tastes like Christmas in a cookie!” lab technician Susan Gallagher said, as she helped with the distribution cart Friday morning.

Duprey says comments like this, and the surprised reaction of people receiving an unexpected “goodie bag”, makes all the work worthwhile.

She said by far the best reaction this year came from Administrator Joe Woodin, who was uncharacteristically at a loss for words when given his gift.

“He just stood there looking at all the bags and saying, “Impossible! Impossible!” Duprey said.

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Barbara E. Quealy Joins Gifford as Chief Operating Officer

Gifford COO Barbara QuealyBarbara E. Quealy, RN, MBA, has joined Gifford Medical Center’s senior leadership team as Chief Operating Officer (COO). She will lead Gifford’s hospital-based operations and report directly to Administrator Joseph Woodin.

“We are very happy to have Barbara join our Gifford team,” said Woodin. “Because of her early experiences as an RN, and in key leadership positions in small critical access hospitals, she understands how important collaboration and communication is to delivering quality patient care.”

Quealy was most recently vice president of Physician and Ancillary Services at the Huggins Hospital in Wolfboro, NH, where she oversaw the operations of the primary care and specialty practices, medical imaging, cardiopulmonary, laboratory, and rehabilitation departments. Previously she was vice-president of Physician Services at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH.

A Boston native, she began working as a candy-striper when she was fourteen, worked as a nurses’ aide through high school and college, and worked for 10 years as an RN in intensive care, cardiac care, and cardiac rehab units before moving into hospital administration. Quealy says she was attracted to Gifford’s commitment to community and strong financial performance, and because she could be an administrator and still interact with patients and their families.

“I began my career in nursing and learned early on the importance of these relationships. Because of this I’m able to bring the patient care conversation to the highest levels of an organization,” she said. ´“At Gifford I’ve been especially impressed by the attention to patient care, and the team work and collaboration I see in all areas of the organization.”

Quealy recently served as vice president of the NH Medical Group Management Association. She received a Masters of Business Administration at Franklin Pierce University, an Associates of Science in Nursing at North Shore Community College, and a Bachelor of Arts at Boston College.

Her new position at Gifford brings her closer to family (one of her two grown sons lives in St. Albans, VT), and she says she immediately felt comfortable here. She and her husband have already purchased land in Randolph, where they are building a home.

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Randolph Couple Displays Work at Gifford Gallery

Exhibit Features Art and Photographs by Joann and Lou DiNicola

Joann DiNicola

Provided courtesy of artist; “Lincoln Farm Pumpkins,” by Randolph artist Joann DiNicola

An exhibit of works by artist Joann DiNicola and photographer Lou DiNicola is on display through January 6, 2016, at the Gifford Medical Center art gallery.

Joann “Rig” DiNicola taught art in the public schools for 29 years and now works out of The Arte di Luna Studio in Randolph. She is a signature member of the Vermont Watercolor Society and a member of the Northern Vermont Artists Association, the Valley Arts Foundation, and the Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville, VT

“Portraits of people, animals, and old vehicles are favorite subjects for me, but I am always on the watch for inspiration wherever it may be found,” she said. “I work in a variety of media: transparent watercolor, pastels and acrylic paint, and photography.”

Lou DiNicola

Provided courtesy of artist; “Waiting,” by Randolph photographer Lou DiNicola

Lou DiNicola, who is also a pediatrician at Gifford, had his first camera at 13 and has been taking pictures ever since. After moving to Vermont in 1976 to begin his career in medicine, he continued with photography in his spare time. For more than 40 years he worked with film, mostly in landscape and nature photography, but now works exclusively in digital format.

“With digital format I have control over the entire process, and in composing, editing, printing, and framing I can present something that is my own work,” he said. “My passion is to use my camera to capture a moment in time that will linger in the minds of the viewer, hopefully evoking a renewed sense of wonder of the world around us.”

This exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be displayed through January 6, 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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Scott Rodi, MD, MPH joins Gifford Medical Center

Dr. Scott Rodi

Dr. Scott Rodi

Emergency medicine physician Dr. Scott Rodi has been appointed Gifford Medical Center’s Emergency Department and Hospital Division Medical Director.

For the past 15 years Rodi has worked at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he has been the Medical Director and Section Chief of Emergency Medicine. He is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and since 2007 has also worked part-time in Gifford’s Emergency Department.

“I came to Gifford initially because I wanted to work in a rural community hospital and to work more directly with patients, which was difficult in a teaching hospital,” Rodi said. “Gifford’s community focus resonates with me, and I enjoy working with an administration that is so accessible.”

A native of San Diego, CA, Rodi first came to the East Coast to attend Dartmouth College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology. He went on to Cornell University Medical College, where he earned an MD, and then returned to Dartmouth‘s Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences for a Master of Public Health. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, and trained in Orthopedic Surgery in the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and in General Surgery at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA.

While at Dartmouth Rodi founded the Center for Rural Emergency Services and Trauma (an outreach program aimed at Critical Access Hospital Emergency Departments) and was involved in the early development of tele-emergency medicine. He has been named New Hampshire Magazine’s Top ED Doctor annually since 2010, and his clinical interests include emergency department management, rural emergency care delivery, and telemedicine.

Dr. Rodi comes from a long line of doctors (his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all physicians), and said because of this it seemed inevitable that he would practice medicine: “I saw that it offered opportunities to do meaningful work and be steadily employed.” Married with three daughters, he lives in Lyme NH, where he is currently working on building an Annapolis Wherry rowing shell.

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Quality Improvement Initiatives

This article was published in our Cancer Program 2014 Annual Report.

Rebecca O'BerryBy Rebecca O’Berry, vice president of surgery and operations

In 2014 the Cancer Program has focused on improving our screening efforts for colorectal cancer, the one cancer that can be prevented. Our two quality improvement goals for 2014 were to improve the tracking process we use for hemoccult cards given to patients and to increase the number of people screened for colorectal cancer.

Historically, less than half of the hemoccult cards given to patients are returned to the physician’s office for testing. We implemented a follow-up plan to increase our return rate and modified the system we use to track these cards. Our efforts were successful, and we were encouraged to explore bringing in a different test that is easier for patients to perform at home. This new laboratory test will be part of our quality initiative for 2015.

Throughout the organization we worked to increase the number of patients who receive some kind of colorectal screening. In the target age group of 50-75, our screening numbers increased from 59 percent (in 2013) to 90 percent (in 2014). This is a significant improvement, and shows how effective a targeted educational effort on the benefits of some form of colorectal screening can be! Unfortunately a large number of our patients still refuse to undergo colorectal screening. In 2015 we will work to improve patient access to screening by increasing the variety of our testing methods.

In 2014 we also increased our social services support for patients undergoing cancer treatment. To ensure that everyone has the help they need while moving through treatment, our patients now have easy access to a social worker and our Blueprint team. We also created a binder to collect all the information needed by someone undergoing cancer treatment.

The MagView program implemented at the end of 2013 has helped our radiology department track screening mammography in a more systematic way. This program keeps all a patient’s information in one location, and allows a much faster turnaround time for notification of results. The time a patient must wait to receive a mammography result notification letter is now less than two days!

Our providers are excellent communicators and have put a lot of time and energy into community education about prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer. We work closely with our local senior centers to provide education sessions that are open to the public. Topics covered in these community outreach efforts include: skin cancer screenings and education (in several locations); discussions on breast cancer, bladder and prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. We will continue to provide this education in the upcoming year.

In 2014, 53 new cancer cases were identified, with breast cancer continuing to be the most prominent followed by lung, colon, and prostate. A total of 41 of those 53 cases were discussed at Tumor Board meetings.

2014 Gifford cancer statistics

Click here to read our full Cancer Program 2014 Annual Report.

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Anesthesiologist Dr. Anthony Fazzone joins Gifford Medical Center

Anthony Fazzone

Anthony Fazzone, M.D., M.S.

Anesthesiologist Anthony Fazzone, M.D., M.S. has joined Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. He brings nearly 20 years of experience and has worked at several area hospitals, including the University of Vermont Health Care System, Springfield Hospital, and the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH.

Dr. Fazzone attended Georgetown University (where he earned his M.D. and a master of science in Physiology) and received a master of science in Human Nutrition from Columbia University. He completed his residency in Anesthesia at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and residencies in Surgery at Abington Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Board-certified by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Fazzone was first drawn to physiology (the normal functions of living systems) and says moving on to medicine and anesthesiology was a natural extension of this interest.

“Anesthesia alters how the body functions, so understanding how the heart, lungs, and neurological systems work helps us take a personalized approach with each patient,” he says. “I can often use regional anesthesia (nerve blocks, spinal taps, and epidurals) to help patients avoid high doses of medication and provide pain relief for patients after surgery.”

Fazzone has most enjoyed his work in smaller hospitals like Gifford because he has time to meet with patients to develop ongoing relationships. After his residency at UVM he knew he wanted to settle in Vermont, and says the Randolph area reminds him of the rural part of western Connecticut where he grew up. He enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and in summer relaxes by kite-boarding on Lake Champlain.

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