Year in Review – Part 2

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the second quarter excerpt.

APRIL

Blueprint teamTo support patient needs, the Blueprint team grows to include a behavioral health specialist (social worker) and a second care coordinator.

Gynecologist Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara of the Bethel and Twin River health centers leads a free women’s health talk at the Montshire Museum on menopause and genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers.

Gov. Peter Shumlin visits the Menig Extended Care Facility to offer thanks to the state’s top nursing home, calling it a “tribute to the community”. “We’re proud of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” the governor said to residents, families, and staff members. The governor’s visit came in the wake of the U.S. News Report “2012 Honor Roll” listing.

Gov. Peter ShumlinJoining Gov. Shumlin are 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.

Gifford provides free assistance with advance directives in conjunction with National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Gifford’s more than 200 volunteers are honored with a luncheon served by hospital managers, prize awards, musical performances, and more.

Dr. Sandy Craig joins the hospitalist team, having previously practiced at The Health Center in Plainfield for many years.

March of DimesEmployees raise $455 for the March of Dimes by donning “Blue Jeans for Babies”. At the same time, the Vermont Chapter of the March of Dimes recognizes Gifford with a Leadership Legacy award for its commitment to prenatal, birth, and newborn care, and its support of the non-profit organization working to prevent birth defects, premature births, and infant mortality.

Long-time pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola receives a national award for his work around childhood immunizations.

Dr. DiNicola is 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.

MAY

Ob/gyn Dr. Anne Galante joins the women’s health team full-time. She had worked as a Menig celebrationlocum tenens, or part-time contracted, provider at Gifford since 2009.

Menig residents celebrate a “Day of Play” with representatives of the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living. The day celebrated Older American’s Month and included a scavenger hunt.

JUNE

The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center holds its annual preschool graduation, complete with caps and gowns.

Gifford and Valley Rescue Squad Inc. move forward with the formation of a new non-profit aimed at stabilizing ambulance costs and maintaining or improving quality through a new non-profit to be called Supporting Ambulances for Vermont Emergencies (SAVE).

A free men’s health talk by general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli and urologist Dr. Richard Graham address colorectal health, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

For an eighth consecutive year, the Menig Extended Care Facility receives a Nursing Home Quality Recognition from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.

A free talk on Medicare insurance, why it’s important, why participating in Medicare Part B is beneficial, and what one’s choices are under Medicare Part D is offered.

The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons grants accreditation with commendation to the cancer program at Gifford. Gifford’s cancer program, which includes outpatient chemotherapy, has been accredited since 1965.

Family nurse practitioner Emily LeVan joins the Bethel Health Center.

Gifford is awarded a Hospital of Choice Award from The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for “courteous, compassionate, and caring services for patients, family, and the community.” The ranking places Gifford among “America’s most customer-friendly hospitals”.

Year in Review – Part 1

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the first quarter excerpt.

JANUARY

pediatrics' open houseUrologist Dr. Richard Graham and menopause practitioner Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara of the Twin River Health Center offer a free talk at the Montshire Museum on urinary incontinence.

Gifford is once again awarded a grant from the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program. For the 11th year, Gifford is the only entity in Vermont to receive the $35,000 grant for breast cancer awareness education and outreach.

Pediatrics and adolescent medicine moves from the main medical center building to Dr. Chris Soares’ former space at the corner of South Main and Maple streets. Joining the practice on the first floor of the renovated, spacious Victorian home is pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

A free three-week series on heart health includes talks from cardiologist Dr. Bruce Andrus and registered dietitian Stacy Pelletier as well as a heart-healthy cooking demonstration from Gifford’s chefs.

FEBRUARY

As part of Gifford’s expanded efforts under the Vermont Blueprint for Health, a chronic illness support group – Chronic HealthShare Consortium – is launched and begins meeting monthly.

Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli strives to bring colon health to the forefront with a free health talk, “Everyone’s Got One: A Discussion on the Colon and How to Keep It Healthy”.

Pacemaker surgeries return to Gifford after a quarter century hiatus.

The Menig Extended Care Facility is named among nation’s top 39 nursing homes by U.S. News and World Report, which released a list of “2012 Honor Roll” nursing homes. Menig was the only nursing home chosen in Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire.

MARCH

The 106th Annual Corporators Meeting is held at the medical center and features Steve Kimbell, commissioner of what was then the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. Leo Connolly, Fred Newhall, and Peter Nowlan are elected to the Board of Trustees.

A Vermont House of Representatives resolution recognizes “the outstanding health care services provided by Gifford Medical Center”. The resolution is in honor of Gifford’s more than 100 years of service to the Randolph area and for its many recent awards.

The Diabetes Education Expo focuses on teeth and feet and how diabetes can keep both healthy. It is the 7th annual exposition organized by the Diabetes Clinic especially for the growing diabetes population.

An open house is held for pediatrics’ new space at 40 South Main Street. Children attending enjoy face painting, balloons, snacks, tours of their new doctor’s office, bike helmet fittings, and painting tiles that have become part of the clinic’s permanent decor.

‘Keeping the Keys’

Gifford Medical CenterJune 18 talk looks at how to drive safely longer

RANDOLPH – At some point in life, driving may become more challenging or perhaps too challenging. “Keeping the Keys” is a free workshop by AAA that offers tips for safe driving longer. And Gifford Medical Center is bringing the talk to the Randolph area.

AAA Northern New England traffic safety specialist Rayette Hudson of Maine will offer the free workshop on June 18 in the Gifford Conference Center from 5-6:30 p.m.

Gifford Blueprint Project Manager LaRae Francis helped organize the talk. The talk is being held during Safe Driving Month.

The discussion targets drivers ages 50 and over as well as families of aging drivers. Discussed will be adjusting to natural changes in driving ability, keeping driving skills sharp and safe driving as long as possible.

“Everyone ages differently,” notes Francis. “Just because you hit a certain age, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take away your keys. But what are some signs to look for? How do you prolong safe driving? How do you choose a car for a senior?”

According to data from AAA, older drivers are actually among the safest drivers. They’re less likely to speed, less likely to drive after drinking, more likely to wear their seatbelts and avoid high risk driving situations, such as driving at night or in poor weather conditions.

Increasing age, however, is generally associated with a decline in functional abilities, such as vision and reaction time. An increase in medical conditions and consequently the number of medications taken can also both impact driving abilities.

Statistically, older drivers have lower crash rates per miles driven than young drivers. But because of their fragility, drivers age 85 and older are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents.

While the goal of the talk is to keep drivers on the road as long as possible to maintain quality of life and independence, the talk will open the door to discussions on when it is time for some drivers to relinquish the keys, Francis notes.

To join the discussion, register with Zach Bean at the Kingwood Health Center at 728-7100, ext. 6, by June 14.

Gifford Holding 2nd Annual Antique and Artisan’s Fair

Gifford Medical Center

photo by Rowan of Ravara

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center will hold its second annual Randolph Antique and Artisan’s Fair on Saturday, July 20.

The fair is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Route 12 park space, and the hospital is looking for vendors to participate.

“We already have great interest from vendors and crafters,” said organizer Amanda Wheeler, “and are excited to welcome more to this successful event.”

Individuals and businesses selling antiques, architectural salvage, collectibles, crafts, unique items, vintage clothing and more are invited. Up to five food vendors will also be welcomed.

Lot sizes are 15-feet by 15-feet with up to three lots available per person/business. Lots are $20 each.

Not accepted are animals, cars, junk or merchandise from distributors such as Pampered Chef, Avon, Snap-on tools, etc.

The event will be held rain or shine. Vendors must supply their own tents, should they want them. Tables are available for a nominal fee on a first-come basis.

Space is limited. Call Wheeler at 728-2238 or e-mail awheeler@giffordmed.org by June 28 to reserve a space while they last.

‘Afterwards: The Business Side of Death’

Final talk in series focuses on funerals, estates and what to do with all that stuff.

RANDOLPH – Over the paGifford Medical Centerst several months at Gifford Medical Center, community members have gathered for an educational series on death and dying, loss and love. First, they started the conversation, talked about “a good death” and then found the beauty of love in loss with “Grief: The Price We Pay for Love.”

Now, the series concludes with a practical discussion about funerals, settling estates and what to do with all that stuff an individual accumulates over a lifetime.

“Afterwards: The Business Side of Death” will be held in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center on May 16 from 5-6:30 p.m. The event includes presentations by funeral director Randy Garner and attorney Steve Webster, both of Randolph.

Garner will share what happens after someone dies and the choices available to families. “There a lot of options possible in Vermont that are not available in other places,” notes Cory Gould, a Gifford mental health provider and the organizer of this end-of-life series.

Webster will discuss settling a person’s estate, and Gould will pose questions for discussion on dealing with checking and other accounts, post office boxes, rental agreements, heating oil contracts and more. The talk, says Gould, will attempt to answer the question “Now what do I do?” “It’s really focusing on the practical, the pragmatic matters, after someone dies,” she says.

Attendance at previous discussions is not required to attend this latest talk. No registration is required, and it is free. Gould can be reached at (802) 728-7100, ext. 7, to answer any questions.

The talk will be held in the Gifford Conference Center. The Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital and marked with a green awning from the patient parking area. For handicapped access, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor. For directions to the medical center and more, visit www.giffordmed.org.

Gifford also offers a Grief Support Group on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 4-5 p.m. in The Family Center beside Gifford Ob/Gyn and Midwifery.

New Healthier Living Workshop begins May 15 in Chelsea

Class focuses on chronic disease self-management and peer support

RANDOLPH – A new Healthier Living Workshop series begins May 15 and continues Wednesdays through June 19 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Chelsea Health Center.

Healthier Living Workshops are six-week classes for people with chronic conditions and their caregivers. They are offered for free – along with chronic pain workshops – throughout the year by Gifford as part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health.

The workshops are led by trained facilitators and are designed to help improve strength, flexibility and endurance. They also provide tips for managing medications, eating healthier and improving communications with family and friends.

The goal is to help people better manage their health conditions and deal with the frustration, fatigue and pain that can accompany a chronic disease.

Participants also benefit from meeting other people with chronic conditions, learning how they cope and enjoying the camaraderie of knowing that they are not alone in how they’re feeling, notes Gifford workshop coordinator Susan Delattre.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, past participants report increased energy, reduced stress, more self-confidence and fewer doctors’ visits as a result.

Gifford Healthier Living Workshop participants have called the series “very relaxed and you really felt free to express yourself” and said they most enjoyed “meeting people who understand what I am going through.”

To register or for more information, call Zach Bean at Gifford’s Blueprint office at the Kingwood Health Center at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6.

The workshop will take place at the Chelsea Health Center at 356 Route 110 in Chelsea.

ESGR Honors Gifford’s Rebecca O’Berry

Hospital VP receives ‘Patriot Award’ for support of citizen soldiers

ESGR

David Wheel, executive director of the Vermont Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presents Gifford Medical Center Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry with a Patriot Award. Joining in receiving the award are, from left, Gifford Surgery Nurse Manager Jamie Floyd, Gifford Surgical Services Office Manager Bethany Osha, Wheel, O’Berry, Guard specialist and Gifford health care assistant Marc Truedson, and former Guard member and Gifford registered nurse Caitlyn Bushey. Truedson nominated O’Berry for the award. (Provided: Robin Palmer)

Marc Truedson’s commitment to serve the country as a specialist in the Vermont National Guard means time away from work as a health care assistant at Gifford Medical Center. Truedson’s employer supports his time away, filling shifts so that he can serve.

Recently Truedson discovered a way to thank Gifford and his senior manager, Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry, for that support. He nominated O’Berry for a Patriot Award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

The ESGR is a Department of Defense operational committee that, with the help of volunteers, promotes and enhances civilian employer support of citizen soldiers.

On Monday afternoon, Vermont ESGR Executive Director David Wheel delivered the award and many kind words to O’Berry and her team. Continue reading

Living with Bipolar Disorder

people with bipolar disorder

Free event includes film, discussion

RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center, in collaboration with the Vermont chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Clara Martin Center, is hosting a May 1 free educational program called “Living with Bipolar Disorder.”

The 5:30-7:30 p.m. event in Gifford’s Conference Center features a film by the same title with a discussion to follow. The 43-minute film features an introduction by actor Joe Pantoliano, a review of the illness by clinical expert Dr. Joe Calabrese of Case Medical Center in Cleveland and stories of people who have bipolar disorder or have been affected by it. Continue reading

Physician Assistant Brad Salzmann Joins Gifford Orthopedics Team

Gifford Medical

Brad Salzmann

Experienced orthopedics physician assistant Bradford “Brad” Salzmann has joined Gifford Medical Center’s orthopedics team in Randolph.

Salzmann grew up in primarily Massachusetts and had two careers – first as a carpenter and then as a hospital-based paramedic – before becoming a physician assistant.

He also did ski patrol along the way and through his role as a ski patrol director got to know a physician assistant who ran a local clinic. Salzmann was inspired. He decided to pursue the “up and coming” profession.

He attended Springfield College in Massachusetts, earning his bachelor’s degree and physician assistant certification in 1996.

He went on to work as physician assistant in orthopedics at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., from 1996-2012 and at Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer, Mass., since 2000. He also worked in hospitalist medicine for a year for IPC Hospitalist of New England.

In addition, he has a master’s degree in disaster medicine and management and as part the Disaster Medical Assistance Team based in Worcester, Mass., responds to government requests for assistance in national disasters.

As part of this group, he’s responded to hurricanes in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and the earthquake in Haiti. He was also recently part of the Hurricane Sandy response team.
His decision to come to Vermont was prompted by his love for the state.

“One of the reasons I’m here is we have family property and a little cabin in Stockbridge, so I’ve been coming here all of my life,” said Salzmann. “I love it here.”

Increasingly, he was excited to travel to Vermont, and reluctant to leave.

Now here to stay, Salzmann is living in Royalton, enjoying the Vermont outdoors and working full-time at Gifford seeing both outpatients and assisting Gifford’s two orthopedic surgeons in surgery.

“I like it. I’m really excited to be at Gifford,” he says, noting he turned down an offer at a larger hospital for the opportunity to work in a small hospital setting. “It’s personable. You get to know people and make more of a difference.”

Salzmann is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. He is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery.

This compassionate caregiver with a quick smile describes his practice style as respectful and truthful. He works with patients to explore options, such as therapy, injections or a visit to the chiropractor. “There are some things,” however, he notes, “that don’t get better without surgery.”

Call Salzmann at Gifford’s Randolph orthopedics office at (802) 728-2455.

Gifford Volunteers Honored

Selfless community members give 16,524 hours to non-profit hospital

Susan O'Malley of Randolph

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

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

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.

Major salutes

Major salutes

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

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.