Gifford Medical Center’s plans to create a senior living community in Randolph Center and renovate the Randolph hospital to have private inpatient rooms cleared a final permitting hurdle Thursday when it earned Certificate of Need approval from the Green Mountain Care Board.
The 5-0 decision was the final approval needed for the project to move forward.
“We’re ecstatic. This project has been years in the making and we’re excited to be moving forward. Our community is in dire need of more senior care and housing options and patients will benefit from the private room model, which is proven to enhance patient safety and satisfaction,” said Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin, who was on hand in Montpelier Thursday to hear the board’s unanimous vote.
As part of the project, Gifford will move its 30-bed, award-winning nursing home, the Menig Extended Care Facility, to 30 stunning acres in Randolph Center. When the new nursing home is built, current nursing home rooms at the downtown medical center will be converted into private hospital rooms.
Independent and assisted living options will be added over time in Randolph Center to create a vibrant senior living community. Up to 150 total units are planned. The project’s first phase calls for the reconstruction of the 30-bed nursing home and a 40-unit independent living facility. Later phases, including 60 more independent living units and 20 assisted living units attached to the nursing home, are spread over 20 years.
Faced with facility constraints and a great number of inefficient older buildings in its downtown location, Gifford has been planning for this project for years. Many options were considered, including rebuilding the entire medical center. Looking at the most affordable, least disruptive option, the hospital finalized its plans in 2011 and filed for Act 250 approval under select criteria on Oct. 3, 2011.
Significant discussions on the use of “prime agricultural soils” for the development delayed discussions and approval on those criteria did not come until Jan. 3 of this year. Full Act 250 approval was sought on April 2, 2013, and awarded Aug. 13. Randolph Development Review Board approval also came earlier this year.
The hospital first filed its Certificate of Need application on Oct. 3, 2012. After the initial detailed review, Gifford resubmitted a revised application in May. A final hearing was held just last month on Sept. 26 and a verbal decision issued on Oct. 10.
A written decision was released late Monday. In it, the board finds the project has met all Certificate of Need criteria, including regarding cost, need, quality and access, and public good. “Gifford has demonstrated that the project serves the public good by enhancing services, improving quality of care and increasing customer satisfaction,” the five-member board wrote.
“We appreciate the Green Mountain Care Board’s thoughtful review and support of this project. The board clearly saw the need and the vision. Due to this decision, we will soon be able to better meet the needs of our community,” said Woodin, who also thanked community members for their support.
“It’s very exciting for all of us, for the staff, for the residents of Menig as well as those who will live in independent and assisted living. Thank you very much for the time, effort and all of the work folks have put into this.”
The hospital plans to begin construction on the Randolph Center nursing home in the spring.
The following was featured in our 2012 Annual Report.
Our effectiveness as a medical home has grown this year with the expansion of health care teams and our collaboration with the Vermont Blueprint for Health. But at the heart of these teams are Gifford’s long-established primary care practices. In each of our health team locations, we have providers and support staff whose relationships with the community run deep.
Take Starr Strong, for example. For 19 years, Starr has committed herself to the people of Chelsea – first under the mentorship of Dr. Brewster Martin and now as a mentor in her own right.
With humility and compassion, family physician Dr. Ken Borie has cared for the people of Randolph for 32 years. The humanity he brings to medicine is an example for all, including the many medical students who he guides through the family medicine portion of their clinical studies.
And Dr. Lou DiNicola, a local pediatrician for 36 years, has been among the foremost leaders in this state when it comes to children, advocating at every turn for their health, safety, and welfare.
Those of us enjoying long-standing relationships with Gifford and with our central Vermont community consider ourselves fortunate to know and work with these practitioners and their support teams. Such stability, and depth, builds our medical homes into more effective tools for helping our patients.
~ Marcus Coxon
Medical Staff President & family physician
The following article was published in our 2012 Annual Report.
Above left – One of Gifford’s newer providers, internal medicine physician Dr. Cristine Maloney, lives in Randolph and brings special training in palliative care to Gifford’s already robust advanced illness care program. Here she is pictured with patient David Wark of West Topsham. Above right – Emergency Department physician and clinical director Dr. Saul Nurok joined Gifford in 2010. Here he is shown with patient George Carr of Bethel.
Gifford is fortunate to have many long-serving health care providers, but the medical center would not be successful without the providers who have joined Gifford in more recent years.
Lured in part by the stability and quality provided by the very individuals highlighted in this year’s report, Gifford has welcomed new providers in almost every area of medicine.
For example, joining long-time pediatricians Dr. Lou DiNicola and Dr. Elizabeth Jewett, who have both been at Gifford for 36 years, are Dr. Joe Pelletier, now with Gifford for 10 years, and Dr. Pam Udomprasert, who joined more recently in 2011.
“Joe is now the cornerstone of pediatrics here,” says Dr. DiNicola.
At the Chelsea Health Center, long-time U.S. Navy family physician Dr. Brian Sargent joined physician assistant Starr Strong in practice in 2008. “I am especially appreciative of Brian,” Starr states, “and his commitment to the folks of this valley and the joy he takes in developing relationships in this unique place.”
In Bethel, family nurse practitioner and former emergency department nurse Emily LeVan joined long-time family physicians Dr. Mark Seymour and Dr. Terry Cantlin just this year. “Emily brings her wealth of emergency room experience and a firm commitment to primary care. She also has a strong tie to the area, working with her husband and family running a local farm,” Medicine Division Medical Director Dr. Josh Plavin says.
In the Emergency Department, Drs. Steven Fisher, Josh White, and Saul Nurok have filled the shoes of long-term physicians like Dr. Lucy Wollaeger, who retired from full-time work in 2012 after 21 years at Gifford.
“Often people’s first opinion of the hospital is through the emergency room, and Steve, Saul, and Josh are amazing,” Dr. Ken Borie, a family physician at Gifford for 32 years, says.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Dennis Henzig, a 20-year veteran of Gifford, has been joined by Drs. Jon-Richard Knoff in 2007 and Nazek Shabayek in 2012. Both of Gifford’s orthopedists, Dr. Stephanie Landvater and Dr. Bess Brackett, have come to Gifford within the last decade as Dr. Bill Minsinger prepared to retire.
Hospitalist medicine is a newer specialty. Consequently, it melds newer doctors and mid-level providers with experienced ones who have transitioned from another area of medicine, such as family care. Gifford’s certified nurse-midwifery team additionally melds newer and more experienced members. Ob/gyn physicians Dr. Anne Galante and Dr. Dina Levin have both joined Dr. Brent Burgee, a 27-year veteran of Gifford, and experienced gynecologist Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara.
The most recent addition in the Randolph primary care office is family physician Dr. Barbara Lazar. “Barb brings a wealth of experience, particularly in geriatrics, and is an extremely competent and kind provider. She is an excellent long-term fit for our community-focused practice,” adds Dr. Plavin, who is also among those providers who have committed themselves to the community.
Most of Gifford’s newer providers – of which there are many more – are from the immediate area or have made it their home, raising children here and engrossing themselves in the community in a variety of ways.
Together – even as health care changes and recruitment, particularly of primary care physicians, becomes more and more challenging – they are carrying on the tradition of neighbors helping neighbors and of high-quality, accessible care in our communities.
Above left: Family physician Barbara Lazar joined Gifford in 2012, bringing a background in geriatric care. Above right – Certified nurse midwife Donna Butler, pictured here with a patient and her baby, only joined Gifford in 2010, but this Vermont native has more than 25 years of experience.
Class focuses on chronic disease self-management and peer support
BERLIN – A new Healthier Living Workshop series begins Oct. 24 and continues Thursdays through Dec. 5 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin. (There is no class on Thanksgiving.)
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 Gifford’s Blueprint office at the Kingwood Health Center at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6.
The Gifford Health Center at Berlin is located at 82 East View Lane, just off the Airport Road in Berlin. For directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org.
Blueprint Community Health Team now certified to offer American Heart Association courses
RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center’s Blueprint Community Health Team is offering a Heartsaver CPR certification course to the public for the first time.
The course will be held Oct. 15 from 6-8 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s conference center. Register by Oct. 4 by calling Keith Marino at 728-2499.
Participants will receive hands on training in CPR for infants, children and adults and rescue breathing. The course is designed to provide anyone with the basic skills needed to keep someone alive in the event that his or her breathing or heartbeat has stopped.
“Knowledge is a very important part of being a concerned citizen,” says Marino, a member of Gifford’s Blueprint team, a certified American Heart Association CPR instructor and an emergency medical technician. “If you come upon someone having a heart attack or with a blocked airway, knowing CPR will assist you in saving that person’s life.”
All are welcome to the course. However, space is limited to 12 participants.
Gifford is on Route 12, or 44 South Main Street in Randolph. From South Main Street take Maple Street to the patient parking area. The Conference Center is marked with a green awning or for handicapped accessibility use the main entrance and take the elevator to the first floor.
Learn more online at www.giffordmed.org. Like Gifford on Facebook to receive notifications of classes like these.
This image is an example of photographer Lisa Wall’s work, now on display in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery in Randolph. (Photo provided)
Local photographer Lisa Wall has returned to the Gifford Medical Center art gallery
Wall is a Randolph resident and the owner of a hair salon, Drop Dead Gorgeous, which she opened in Randolph in 2003.
She has been taking photos since high school, including two years spent at the Randolph Area Vocational Center (now the Randolph Technical Career Center) studying graphic arts with an emphasis on photography and dark room skills.
She went on to cosmetology school but never gave up photography.
“My camera never leaves my side. (It is) always ready for whatever nature might present to me,” says Wall, who also gardens, fishes, hikes and cooks.
Wall works under the name Looking Glass Photography.
The Gifford 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 or Volunteer Coordinator Julie Fischer at (802) 728-2324 for more information.
The following was published in our 2012 Annual Report.
At the annual Employee Awards Banquet last year on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Vermont Technical College, the following employees were honored for their years of dedication and service to Gifford and its patients. (Employees are honored on their 5-, 10-, 15-, etc., year anniversaries.)
Debra St. Germain
Sue St. Peter
Each year members of the Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary knit hats and mittens for local school children in need. This year Auxiliary members decided to have some extra fun with their knitting by gathering with Menig Extended Care Facility nursing home residents for a weekly “Knit In.”
On Thursday the group met at Menig in Randolph for a second time, and while fingers worked so did minds and mouths. There was reminiscing, sharing of techniques, talk of family and friends, and plenty of discussion on where to get great deals on yarn. The group plans to gather as long as it’s fun.
The Auxiliary hopes to have plenty of mittens and hats ready for children from two area schools come January. Last year the handmade goods went to schools in Bethel and Rochester for school nurses to pass out as needed. The year before it was South Royalton and Brookfield.
Menig residents are making washcloths to include in Operation Christmas Child boxes to go to children in Third World countries. Together these two groups of givers are also making memories.
Barb Reynolds (Menig resident) and Terry MacDougal (Menig activities director)
Bea Arnold (Menig resident) and Louise Clark (Auxiliary president)
Ginny Cantlin (Auxiliary member) and Ruth Lutz (Auxiliary treasurer)
BERLIN – Physician assistant Jayne Collins of Greensboro has joined orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephanie Landvater in practice at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin.
A Montpelier native and graduate of Franklin Pierce University, Collins brings her extensive knowledge of anatomy and body mechanics to outpatients, including through injury evaluation, during pre- and post-operative appointments and more.
Orthopedists provide non-surgical and surgical care for people with injuries, diseases and abnormalities of the bones, joints and tendons, or musculoskeletal system. Collins has 25 years of experience as an athletic trainer and physical therapist.
In addition to her physician assistant master’s degree from Franklin Pierce, Collins has a master’s in sports medicine from Springfield College in Massachusetts and bachelor’s degrees in physical therapy from SUNY (The State University of New York) at Stony Brook and physical education/athletic training from Springfield College.
She spent several years as an athletic trainer in New York before returning to Vermont and launching a decades’ long career in physical therapy. She worked at Central Vermont Medical Center as a physical therapist and managed Green Mountain Sports Physical Therapy II in Montpelier before opening her own practice in Waterbury in 1990. She was the owner, director and a senior therapist at Family Physical Therapy Inc. in Waterbury for 20 years prior to realizing her dream of becoming a physician assistant.
“It was the next step in my medical education and career goals. In addition to still helping people heal, I would be able to help manage their orthopedic health care,” Collins says.
And she wanted to work with Dr. Landvater.
“From my years of experience as a physical therapist working with Dr. Landvater’s patients, one of my loftiest goals was to work as Dr. Landvater’s physician assistant because of her practice ethics, how much her patients mean to her and the quality of health care she gives her patients,” says Collins.
Working with Dr. Landvater at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin also means giving back to the area.
“I’m native to central Vermont and it’s nice to be able to continue to work in the community that I was raised in, raised my family in and worked in for years.”
Collins goals came to fruition in September when she became a member of the Berlin team. In addition to her work at Gifford, she is a family medicine physician assistant at a small practice in Swanton.
Collins is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Physician Assistant Academy of Vermont, Vermont and national physical therapy and athletic training organizations, the American Diabetes Association and the Vermont Association of Diabetes Educators.
Her clinical interests include general orthopedics, sports medicine and injury prevention.
Collins is married with two adult sons, who serve in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her horse, photography and scrapbooking.
Call Collins and Dr. Stephanie Landvater at the Gifford Health Center at 229-2325. The health center is located at 82 East View Lane, just off the Airport Road.
Gifford also provides orthopedics care in Randolph.