Selfless community members give 16,524 hours to non-profit hospital
Susan O’Malley of Randolph
Gifford Medical Center recognized its 120 volunteers at an annual appreciation luncheon on Wednesday.
Volunteers gave 16,524 hours in 2012. That’s 2,066 eight-hour workdays or the equivalent of eight full-time employees, noted Ashley Lincoln, director of development and marketing. “That’s a pretty incredible number,” Lincoln said. “We really appreciate the smiles that you bring, your enthusiasm, and your willingness to come when you’re called.”
Arlene Conant of Randolph Center and Robin Rafuse Gurney of Randolph
Volunteers give of their time throughout the medical center, at its clinics, at the Adult Day, through chaplaincy, as part of the Board of Trustees and through the Gifford Auxiliary at the Thrift Shop. “We have a far reaching volunteer group and I thank all of you,” said Volunteer Services Coordinator Julie Fischer to the group of about 75 in attendance.
The volunteers were treated to live music by Thom Goodwin, quality and infection prevention manager at Gifford and a
Chris Furmeister of Randolph
musician. Gifford’s chefs prepared a meal based on the event’s Texas barbecue theme. Gifford staff volunteering as servers donned Western attire. And door prizes from generous local businesses, including Onion Flats, Randolph Village Pizza, Blue Moon Boutique, Belmains, Bud and Bella’s Bookshop, Dandelion Acres, Central Supplies, Chef’s Market, Holiday Beauty Salon and Tozier’s, were given out.
One volunteer in particular received a standing ovation after it was announced that the hospital has nominated him for a senior service award. Major Melvin McLaughlin, 95, has been volunteering at Gifford for more than 40 years.
Lincoln read the hospital’s nomination, which describes McLaughlin’s service and hospital staff members’ regard for the long-time volunteer. “We at Gifford love Major. He is a brilliant and beautiful light in the day. As one nurse put it, ‘A day without Major is a day without sunshine.’ He is the personification of what we are as an organization – warm, compassionate, supportive, humbled and blessed to be able to care for others. Introduce a new staff member, patient or nursing home resident to Major and we have just told them everything they need to know about us. We care. We’re family. We’re here for you.”
Nap and Agnes Pietryka of Randolph
The text of the full nomination is available online at www.salutetoseniorservice.com. Hospital administrators are hoping staff, volunteers and community members visit the site between April 15-30 to vote for McLaughlin, a Randolph resident since 1967.
McLaughlin, a member of the U.S. Marines for 25 years, saluted his fellow volunteers as they cheered him.
Volunteers also offered their thanks for the opportunity to give of their time at the medical center, an experience so many find extremely rewarding.
The event concluded with a presentation from LaRae Francis of Gifford’s Blueprint Community Health Team, who explained the team’s work to connect Gifford patients with needed community services and to help them better navigate the health system. The program is aimed at helping the chronically ill better manage their diseases by reducing barriers to care. The team has had 600 referrals since it began in February of 2011.
Community members wanting to access the program to receive help and learn about available community services can call (802) 728-2499. For information on volunteering at Gifford, call Fischer at (802) 728-2324.
RANDOLPH – Each March Gifford Medical Center’s corporators gather to review the year past. This year, the 107th Annual Meeting of the Gifford Corporators has been postponed, but the hospital did not want to delay in sharing a few of 2012’s many successes and some plans for the future.
The meeting will be rescheduled, allowing for corporators to hold their annual business meeting, elect new board members and discuss health care reform.
Year in review
The end of the 2012 fiscal year marked another year “in the black” for Gifford. This is the 13thconsecutive year the medical center has achieved both its budget and operating margin – a feat unheard of at other Vermont hospitals.
The year also brought numerous awards and recognitions for the medical center. The Vermont House of Representatives honored Gifford with a legislative resolution of support and thanks. The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center, Gifford’s day care, once again earned five STARS from the Vermont STep Ahead Recognition System.
The Menig Extended Care Facility nursing home was named a 2012 Best Nursing Home and an Honor Roll nursing home by U.S. News and World Report – the latter naming it one of the best 39 nursing homes in the country. (Menig just last month earned a 2013 Best Nursing Home recognition once again). Menig also received the state’s Nursing Home Quality Recognition.
The March of Dimes recognized Gifford with a Leadership Legacy award for its commitment to prenatal, birth and newborn care. Long-time pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the first-ever “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for the state of Vermont. Gifford was awarded a Hospital of Choice Award from The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for courtesy and compassion.
From left, Menig Extended Care Facility licensed nursing assistants Loretta Cushing and Darlene Doyle and licensed practical nurse Anne Murphy gather around nursing home resident Della Allen, 99, on Wednesday. The nursing home at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph was recognized among the nation’s 2013 Best Nursing Homes.
RANDOLPH – For a third consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility at Gifford Medical Center has been named among the nation’s very best nursing homes by U.S. News & World Report.
Looking at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data regarding health inspection, level of nursing staffing and quality of care for nearly 16,000 nursing homes nationwide, U.S. News & World created and released a “2013 Best Nursing Homes” list on Tuesday. Menig, along with seven other Vermont nursing homes, made the list for its “five-star” (the maximum available) rating.
Menig was also recognized in 2011 and 2012 and was named among the top 39 nursing homes in the nation last year.
“I am so proud of the Menig staff. We work in a place that is clean, well maintained, has great food and a dedicated pool of volunteers who love the elderly. Varied activities keep the residents’ quality of life high. This teamwork and our nursing staff’s commitment to care are what make Menig such a high-quality home,” said Cindy Richardson, Menig director of nursing. “This honor is wonderful recognition of the work we do on behalf of our residents every day.”
The U.S. News list is created to help consumers find quality nursing home care. Homes are given between one and five stars in the rankings.
“Fewer than one out of every five nursing homes got an overall rating of five stars,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor. “All seniors deserve the best nursing care available, and these are homes that merit their consideration by demonstrating such high quality.”
Menig is a 30-bed nursing home attached to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. The medical center is currently amid the permitting process to move the nursing to Randolph Center where it would become the anchor of a senior living community. The new community would include independent and assisted living as well, helping to meet a significant community need for more senior care and living options. The move would also free up space at Gifford to create industry-standard single inpatient rooms (rather than shared two-person rooms) for patient safety and privacy.
Learn more about the nursing home rankings here. Also, you can learn more about Menig online at www.giffordmed.org.
RANDOLPH – Nonprofit community organizations have an opportunity to apply for a $1,000 grant.
Gifford Medical Center is seeking applications for the annual Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award – a grant established in memory of the hospital’s late administrator.
Applications for the $1,000 grant are due to the hospital by Feb. 11.
The grant 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.
The award is given annually to an agency or organization involved in the arts, health, community development, education or the environment in Gifford’s service area in recognition of Levesque’s commitment to the White River Valley. Continue reading →
RANDOLPH – The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons has granted accreditation with commendation to the cancer program at Gifford Medical Center through 2013.
A facility receives accreditation with commendation following an onsite evaluation by a physician surveyor during which the facility demonstrates a commendation level of compliance with one or more standards that represent the full scope of the cancer program (cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach, and quality improvement). In addition, a facility receives a compliance rating for all other standards.
Through its oncology department, Gifford in Randolph offers area patients access to an experienced oncologist, Dr. John Valentine; care from a specially certified oncology nurse; and treatment planning and options, including outpatient chemotherapy and hormone therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Cancer patients and their families additionally benefit from Gifford’s specialists and surgeons and the hospital’s robust palliative care program. Gifford also has a Cancer Committee, a patient care navigator program for women undergoing breast biopsies, and data management and quality oversight. It promotes cancer prevention, screenings, and treatment to the public through patient education and outreach efforts.
“We’re honored to be accredited once again by the Commission on Cancer,” Gifford Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry said. “This accreditation is a quality indicator for patients choosing cancer care, and an indicator that quality cancer care can be found close to home at Gifford.”
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 49 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.
Gifford’s program has been accredited by the Commission on Cancer since 1965.
The core functions of the Commission on Cancer include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care; surveying facilities to evaluate compliance with the 36 Commission on Cancer standards; collecting standardized and quality data from accredited facilities; and using the data to develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national, state, and local level.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2012. There are currently more than 1,500 Commission on Cancer-accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, representing close to 30 percent of all hospitals. This 30 percent of hospitals diagnose and/or treat 80 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. In addition, a national network of more than 1,650 volunteer cancer liaison physicians, including internal medicine physician Jim Currie of Gifford, provides leadership and support for the Commission on Cancer Accreditation Program and other activities at local facilities.
The Accreditation Program, a component of the Commission on Cancer, sets quality-of-care standards for cancer programs and reviews the programs to ensure they conform to those standards. Accreditation is given only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to providing the highest level of quality cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. To maintain accreditation, facilities with Commission on Cancer accredited cancer programs must undergo an on-site review every three years.
Vermont Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry, far right, and Vermont Division and Licensing and Protection Director Suzanne Leavitt, far left, present Menig Extended Care Facility Administrator Linda Minsinger and Director of Nursing Cindy Richardson, center, a Nursing Home Quality Recognition on June 6 in a ceremony in Colchester.
RANDOLPH – For an eighth consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility at Gifford Medical Center has received a quality recognition from the state of Vermont and Vermont Health Care Association (VHCA).
The Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living and VHCA awarded Menig the Nursing Home Quality Recognition on June 6 in a ceremony at the Hilton in Colchester.
Receiving the recognition on Menig’s behalf were nursing home Administrator Linda Minsinger and Director of Nursing Cindy Richardson.
“I’m very proud of my staff. I know the residents receive excellent physical care, but are also treated with respect and dignity,” said Richardson, noting staff members demonstrate their care and compassion for the residents daily through every conversation, hand held, or care administered.
The award, offered annually to nursing homes in Vermont meeting certain criteria, looks at resident and family satisfaction, state survey results, participation and data entry into the National Advancing Excellence Quality Program, and lack of family complaints.
Good care contributes greatly to achieving those markers, but Richardson noted that it takes a larger team to have such a high-quality home for residents.
“The core of the recognition is the aides who give them care and the nurses who guide the care,” Richardson said, “but the facility is also clean, it has good food and it’s well-maintained. That’s what also makes it a quality place to live and work.”
The nursing home’s dedicated group of volunteers and chaplaincy volunteers also contribute greatly to Menig’s warmth and offerings, Richardson said.
“I’m very proud that Gifford staff has done that great of a job for all these years to meet the state’s highest award for quality for a nursing home. It shows what a great team we have working together,” Minsinger added.
Named for the late Howard and Gladys Menig of Braintree, Menig was first built attached to Gifford Medical Center in 1998 to provide enhanced quality of care to residents of the state-closed Tranquility Nursing Home in Randolph.
Repeatedly recognized for its high-quality care both on a state and national level, 30-bed Menig is the only nursing home in Orange County and highly sought after as a place to live one’s final years.
Now the hospital is hoping to provide care and housing options to a greater number of seniors through the creation of a senior living community in Randolph Center, to include independent living and a reconstructed Menig as well as assisted living in the future.
“This quality recognition is further evidence that we’re doing the right thing for our residents and poised to make an even greater difference in Randolph Center,” Director of Development and Public Relations Ashley Lincoln said.
Other/past awards for Menig
2012 Honor Roll, U.S. News and World Report (a recognition given to only 39 nursing homes nationally receiving four straight quarters of five-star rankings in all categories evaluated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
2012 Best Nursing Homes, U.S. News and World Report (award also received in 2011)
Excellence in Action Award, from national resident/family surveying company My InnerView (2008-2011)
Nursing Home Quality Recognition, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living and the Vermont Health Care Association (2011 and 2012)
Nursing Home Quality Award, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living and the Vermont Health Care Association (2005-2010)
Gold Star Employer Award, Vermont Health Care Association (received during the seven consecutive years – 2005-2011 – the award was offered)
Registered Nurse of the Year, awarded to Menig nurse Judy Libby, Vermont Health Care Association (2006)
Nursing Director of the Year, awarded to staff member Brooks Chapin, Vermont Health Care Association (2005)
Randolph pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola poses with a national award he received this week honoring him as the first-ever “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for Vermont.
RANDOLPH – Long-time Gifford Medical Center pediatrician and pediatric hospitalist Dr. Lou DiNicola this week received national recognition for his work around childhood immunizations.
Dr. DiNicola of Randolph was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and the CDC Foundation as the first ever “CDC Childhood Immunization Champion” for the state of Vermont.
The award was announced in a letter to Dr. DiNicola from Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Anne Schucaht and CDC Foundation President Charles Stokes, who thanked Dr. DiNicola for his “efforts to help save lives by ensuring that our nation’s children are fully vaccinated.”
“It humbles me,” said Dr. DiNicola of the surprise award. “It humbles because it really shouldn’t go to me. I’m one of many.” Nurses, office staff, the Department of Health and caregivers across the state all work on the issue of immunizations, he noted.
A pediatrician in Randolph since 1976, Dr. DiNicola has long since been among those caregivers advocating for immunizations in their practices and on a state level.
Dr. DiNicola also now serves as president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter. In that role and as a pediatrician, he’s been a strong advocate of a Senate bill now in committee that proposed to eliminate the current “philosophical,” non-medical and non-religious, vaccine exemption for children entering childcare and school.
Dr. DiNicola has been to the Statehouse multiple times to testify regarding the issue, penned editorials to regional media, spent hours reaching out the governor and other state officials and helped establish the first-ever advocacy program for physicians in their residency program at the University of Vermont. The program teaches physicians in-training how to advocate for children’s health.
The efforts are all meant to better immunization rates that he says are now a major problem in Vermont.
The immunization rate of incoming kindergartners has dropped from 93 percent in 2006 to 83 percent today, according to Vermont Department of Health data. “We’re going to face significant morbidity and probably mortality,” if vaccinations rates don’t change, Dr. DiNicola says, urging parents and lawmakers not to “allow children to be opted out of a lifetime of health and happiness.”
And providing children a lifetime of good health has always been Dr. DiNicola’s goal. In fact, he’s received approximately five previous national awards over his 36-year career, including a recognition from Pres. Jimmy Carter, awards for work with special needs children, a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) award and more.
To learn more about Dr. DiNicola’s efforts around immunizations, visit the CDC online at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/champions.
Gifford Medical Center Communications Specialist Robin Palmer, right, presents March of Dimes Vermont State Chapter Director Roger Clapp with a “check” for $455. Gifford employees raised the money last month for the March of Dimes for wearing Blue Jeans for Babies.
RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center staff donned “Blue Jeans for Babies” last month, raising $455 for the March of Dimes in the annual fund-raiser.
Blue Jeans for Babies takes place across the nation as workplaces like Gifford give employees the opportunity to wear jeans to work for a day in exchange for a donation – in Gifford’s case: $5 – to the March of Dimes.
“It’s an event employees look forward to and greatly enjoy each year because they get to both support the March of Dimes and wear jeans to work for a day,” said Robin Palmer, a member of Gifford’s Marketing Department who helped organize the hospital’s effort.
“The March of Dimes’ mission also matches nicely with Gifford’s as we both work to bring healthy babies into the world,” Palmer added.
The March of Dimes is the nation’s leading non-profit organization for pregnancy and baby health. It raises funds through a variety of events to help prevent birth defects, premature births and infant mortality. Blue Jeans for Babies is one such fund-raiser.
Roger Clapp, March of Dimes Vermont Chapter director, thanked hospital employees for wearing “blue jeans for babies” and noted funds raised will be used to support stronger, healthier babies in Vermont.
March of Dimes Vermont State Chapter Director Roger Clapp, right, presents Gifford Medical Center caregivers with a Leadership Legacy award for their support of healthy babies and the March of Dimes. Gifford staff members pictured, from left, are pediatrician and pediatric hosptalist Dr. Lou DiNicola and Birthing Center registered nurses Kim Summers and Karin Olson.
RANDOLPH – The Vermont Chapter of the March of Dimes today honored Gifford Medical Center with a Leadership Legacy award.
The award, presented by March of Dimes Vermont Chapter Director Roger Clapp, recognizes the Randolph hospital for both its commitment to prenatal, birth, and newborn care, and its support of the March of Dimes.
“This award recognizes Gifford’s leadership in newborn care, which has been ongoing for a number of years, as well as Gifford’s support of the mission of the March of Dimes, which is to improve the health of babies,” Clapp said.
The March of Dimes strives to prevent birth defects, premature births, and infant mortality through research, quality initiatives, community services, education, and advocacy. Gifford has been a leader in low intervention births and midwifery and obstetrics for more than 30 years.
The hospital is also a supporter of the March of Dimes’ upcoming March for Babies walks in central Vermont on Sunday, starting at the Montpelier High School at 9 a.m., and the Randolph walk on May 19, starting at the village fire station, also at 9 a.m.
“We’re really proud of what we do. We love what we do. We work with a great team of providers and staff. We have the same goal to start babies on the right foot, and we’re here to support them, I say, until they go to college,” said Gifford Birthing Center registered nurse Karin Olson.
“For more than 30 years I have had the honor of working in Gifford’s Birthing Center caring for more than 5,000 newborns during this time,” added pediatrician and pediatric hospitalist Dr. Lou DiNicola. “There is no better model that I know of to provide excellent, family-centered care for our mothers, families, and newborns. The midwives, obstetricians, nurses, and pediatricians in Gifford’s Birthing Center provide a superb setting that is safe for our newborns.”
This is the second recent award for the Randolph hospital for its work around positive birth outcomes.
Gifford’s midwives were recognized as a “best practice” in the nation by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. The practice looked at 2010 benchmarking data and named Gifford as having the highest success rate with vaginal births after caesareans as compared to similar small-size practices. The midwives were additionally named a “runner-up best practice” for both lowest rates of low birth weight infants and operative vaginal births. Operative vaginal births means births using vacuum or forceps.
Vermont as a whole has also been recognized for having healthy babies. The Vermont Chapter of the March of Dimes was the only in the nation to receive an “A” rating recently from the national March of Dimes organization. The rating, explains Clapp, looked at the state’s reduction in premature births. Vermont’s rate of premature births is 8.4 percent compared to a national average of 12 percent. The March of Dimes has set a 9.6 percent premature birth rate as a 2020 goal – a figure Vermont is already well below.
Gov. Peter Shumlin cuts a celebratory cake with Menig Extended Care Facility resident Edith Reynolds as nursing home leaders Linda Minsinger, Brooks Chapin and Cindy Richardson and Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry look on.
RANDOLPH – Wearing a broad smiling and expressing his sincerest of thanks, Gov. Peter Shumlin and the state’s top nursing home officials made a stop at the state’s top nursing home Friday afternoon.
Gov. Shumlin; Vermont Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry; Vermont Health Care Association Executive Director Laura Pelosi; Division of Licensing and Protection Director Suzanne Leavitt; and Assistant Director Fran Keeler all visited Randolph’s Menig Extended Care Facility to meet with residents, their families, and staff and to offer words of praise.
Menig has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s best 39 nursing homes. The findings are from a review of more than 15,500 nursing homes nationally. Chosen as winners were those that received four straight quarters of perfect five-star ratings from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in all three areas that CMS evaluates – health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality of care.
Menig, part of Gifford Medical Center, was the only Vermont nursing home recognized. It was also the only in the two-state region of Vermont and New Hampshire, where, according to Medicare, there are 118 nursing homes.
Praising both Gifford and Menig, the governor noted “It’s widely known … that this is the best little hospital around.” He called Menig a “professional, clean, quality, compassionate place to grow older” and a “tribute to the community.”
On a statewide level, “It makes us proud. We’re proud of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Dr. Wehry said it wasn’t her first trip to Menig to hand out quality awards and it surely wouldn’t be her last.
“I have the best job,” she said. “My job is to make Vermont the best state in the nation to grow old with dignity, and I can’t think of a better partner.”
Leavitt thanked residents for inviting her into their home and thanked staff, especially those who come in at “Oh-dark-30,” for the job they do. “You are the folks who are the foundation of success of a facility like this and it doesn’t go unnoticed,” Leavitt said.
Gov. Peter Shumlin, center, poses with Menig Extended Care Facility staff at a Friday ceremony where the Randolph nursing home was recognized as the best in a two-state region.
Hospital and Menig leaders too thanked the staff, describing the nursing home’s past and its future.
Menig got its start in 1998 to help meet the community’s need for nursing home care following the closure of larger, 53-bed Tranquility Nursing Home in Randolph. Part of non-profit Gifford, the nursing home initially had 20 beds but grew to 30 beds with an addition that opened in 2006.
The only nursing home in Orange County, it has repeatedly been recognized for its quality, including receiving seven consecutive Nursing Home Quality recognitions and Gold Star Employer awards from the state. It has also earned national awards and has a substantial waiting list for care.
The hospital is now striving to meet more of the community’s needs for senior living opportunities by constructing a new nursing home to replace the existing Menig, a 40-unit independent living facility, and possibly one-day assisted living in a picturesque rural setting near Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center. The existing nursing home would then become private, inpatient rooms.
Gov. Shumlin offered his support for the senior living community project, noting he’d stand behind the project “all the way.”
The governor and other state officials all spent considerable time with the nursing home residents, introducing themselves, chatting, and posing for pictures.
Many residents were delighted to meet the governor and other state officials. “He’s gone over big,” said resident Leland Flint.
Many were also delighted to hear kind words about their home.
Dr. Wehry and Menig resident Stu Reynolds
“You can’t find anything better,” was a common theme. Glen Eldredge said it. His wife Shirley lives in Menig. Stu Reynolds said it. He lives in Menig with this wife and his mother-in-law.
Flint said it too. “Everything here is great. Nothing could be better.”
U.S. News and World Report, Medicare data, and the state’s leaders seem to agree.