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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gifford Auxiliary Gives $1 Million to Hospital’s Capital Campaign

Funds raised through sales at popular volunteer-staffed community Thrift Shop

Gifford Auxiliary

Members of Gifford Medical Center’s Auxiliary at their quarterly membership luncheon on November 15, 2015. (Photo credit: Bob Eddy)

Gifford Medical Center’s Auxiliary announced a million-dollar gift to the hospital’s Vision for the Future campaign at the organizations quarterly membership luncheon on November 15, 2015.

Funds for the generous gift were raised through sales at the popular volunteer-staffed Thrift Shop in Randolph.

The Vison for the Future campaign is raising funds to support a multi-phased project that built the new Menig Nursing Home in Randolph Center (which opened last spring), 25 private inpatient rooms (which will open mid-December), and an updated and more centrally located Birthing Center in the hospital (planned to open next spring). The campaign needs just $800,000 to close the $5 million campaign, and hopes the Auxiliary’s gift—created through hard work and small-dollar sales—will inspire others to invest in the hospital’s future.

“This gift represents an overwhelming generosity of time and resources,” said Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin, who noted that over the years the Auxiliary has supported strategic projects (including the original Menig Extended Care wing, the Philip Levesque Medical Building, and the employee day care center) as well as annual departmental “wish list” items not included in the hospital budget. “The Auxiliary is a key part of Gifford’s success, and truly adds tremendous value to our community.”

The Thrift Shop first opened its doors in 1956 and has been providing clothing and household items to bargain hunters and those in need ever since. The 148-member Auxiliary runs the Thrift Shop, with some paid staff and many dedicated volunteers who sort through donations, clean and mend clothes, price items, stock shelves, and staff the store. Each year the Auxiliary also funds scholarships for college students pursuing health careers, financial aid for students enrolled in LNA programs, and supports other community outreach programs.

Auxiliary President Margaret Osborn says the Thrift Shop’s success can be measured in terms of money raised, but also by the enthusiasm of the volunteer workers, the creativity of employees, and the many community customers and donors.

“This million dollar gift reflects our community’s enthusiasm for re-gifting their possessions through the thrift shop, helping to ensure that we have high-quality local hospital care and good merchandise at prices everyone can afford—from fire victims to frugal shoppers,” said Osborn. “We provide an effective, simplified process that gets unused goods out to those who can use them. At the same time we offer tremendous opportunities for people with vitality and skills who want to give time to community service.”

Woodin also notes the many layers of the Thrift Shop’s community contributions. “We are so fortunate to have this unique community resource,” he said. “It helps the hospital, it helps people with limited resources, it keeps unused items from cluttering homes and out of the landfill, and it offers everyone the joy that comes with finding a good bargain. That’s a universal gratification!”

To volunteer or learn more about the Thrift shop, call (802) 728-2185. For more information about Gifford’s Vision for the Future campaign, call Ashley Lincoln at 728-2380 or visit http://www.giffordmed.org/VisionfortheFuture.

Expertise, Personalized Care, and Comprehensive Support Close to Home

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

Brenda CaswellWhen someone is given a cancer diagnosis, their world is turned upside down. Suddenly there is a lot of information to absorb, many tests to take, and hard decisions that have to be made quickly—all when people are feeling most vulnerable.

Travelling to receive treatment and follow-up cancer care can be expensive, exhausting, and complicated to organize. At Gifford patients with cancer have treatment options that can relieve these stresses.

Most cancers—especially breast, colon, prostate, and bladder cancers—can be treated here in our community hospital with caregivers that patients know and trust, close to the family and friends who will support them during treatment.

“Our goal is to make sure people know that they can receive the same quality of care offered at larger hospitals close to home, with a support network they know,” said Rebecca O’Berry, vice-president of Surgery and Operations at Gifford. “Battling a cancer diagnosis is hard enough—I’m thankful that we can provide quality cancer care locally and decrease our patient’s travel time during treatment.”

First accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer in 1965 (we received our most recent 3-year accreditation in December of 2014), our cancer program has been delivering quality cancer care to our community for nearly fifty years. Our oncology services include cancer care from an experienced oncologist, hospital specialists and surgeons, and specially certified oncology nurses; lab and diagnostic services; advanced diagnostic services, including stereotactic breast imaging; outpatient chemotherapy; preventive cancer screenings; and a strong palliative care program. Our multidisciplinary approach to each patient’s care includes identifying social service needs as well as appropriate medical expertise.

Experience, expertise, and compassionate care close to home

“With cancer, making the right diagnosis and getting the right treatment is key,” says Dr. Richard Graham, a Gifford urologist who treats prostate, bladder, and renal cancers. “Experience with specific cancers is also important. We have the expertise and technology to diagnose a lot of rare cancers, but we are small enough to see patients as individuals: You are not a number here.”

Graham notes that he saw an increase in patients whose small cancers were treated with cryosurgery and laparoscopic surgery in 2014.

Personalized support for the cancer care each patient chooses

When a patient chooses cancer treatment that is not offered here, our providers make referrals and collaborate with outside oncologists so things go smoothly. Patients have the option to receive post-operative care and chemo treatments close to home.

Brenda Caswell, a Randolph mother of five, regularly comes to Gifford for medical care and annual mammogram screenings. She missed three years of annual visits because of her pregnancy and the birth of her youngest child, and when she resumed her check-in’s her provider insisted that she get a mammogram.

“My provider didn’t let me out of the office without scheduling a mammogram,” Caswell says. “She knew me, knew that my mom had had breast cancer, and knew that regular screening was especially important for me.”

A small tumor was detected, and after a biopsy and two consultations with Dr. Ciccarelli, she decided to have mastectomy and reconstructive breast surgery through a program offered at a larger hospital. Dr. Ciccarelli’s team made referrals and helped her arrange treatment. When her cancer was found to be more invasive than originally thought, she had to plan for chemotherapy after surgery. Then, when post-operative complications required a week of inpatient care right before the holidays, she knew she wanted to be close to home and with her family.

“I was able to be at Gifford, just down the street from my home,” Caswell said. “The doctors were wonderful—they collaborated with the oncologists who were treating me, sharing blood counts and test results. It was a very smooth process.”

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