Governor, Vermont Officials Make Stop at State’s Top Nursing Home

Governor Peter Shumlin

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.

Menig Extended Care Facility

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

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.

Gov. Peter Shumlin

Gov. Peter Shumlin and resident Ethel Boynton

Gifford Honored with Legislative Resolution

Joe Woodin and Rep. Patsy French

Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin stands with Rep. Patsy French, D-Randolph, in the State House on March 13. The House recognized Gifford and its recent national honors with a formal resolution.

MONTPELIER – The Vermont House of Representatives passed a resolution last week recognizing “the outstanding health care services provided by Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.”

The resolution recognized Gifford for its more than 100 years of service to the Randolph area and for its recent achievements and accolades.

In December, Gifford was named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the nation by The National Rural Health Association. The hospital’s nursing home, the Menig Extended Care Facility, just last month was named one of the nation’s top 39 nursing homes by U.S. News and World Report, which recognized nursing homes achieving a solid year of five-star ratings on all Medicare benchmarks.

Gifford’s midwives were further recognized in 2011 as a “best practice” in the country by the American College of Nurse-Midwives for its positive results with vaginal births after cesareans and a “runner-up best practice” for having the fewest numbers of low birth weight infants and for its low use of vacuum or forceps.

The hospital’s day care, The Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center, earned the maximum five “STARS” from the state’s STep Ahead Recognition System, a voluntary quality program that is part of the Vermont Department for Children and Families’ Child Development Division. The program looks at compliance with state regulations, staff qualifications and training, daily activities with the children, improvement plans, and more.
Menig has also won many state awards for quality and national awards for resident satisfaction.

“Since before 2000, the Menig Extended Care Facility has allowed elderly Vermonters from the area to remain close to home, providing extremely qualified and compassionate patient care. My in-laws were able to use this facility in the last years of their life, making for an ideal connection for them and my family,” shared Rep. Larry Townsend, D-Randolph. “Randolph and the surrounding towns are blessed to have not only Menig, but Gifford as one of the treasures in our communities.”

Townsend initiated the Resolution and was among one of 12 legislators who brought forth the resolution, which was passed by the full House on March 13.

Gifford Administrator Joseph Woodin and Director of Development and Public Relations Ashley Lincoln were present to receive the resolution.

“We have appreciated some incredibly welcome, yet unsolicited awards over the last year or so,” Woodin said. “This is another unexpected honor.”

“We’re fortunate to have the privilege of caring for the people of this region. We’re humbled to be recognized for that work in such a public way.”

The resolution also recognized the hospital’s 12 consecutive years of meeting its state-approved budget and operating margin, and the recognition of all of Gifford’s primary care practices as Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Finally, the resolution called Gifford “a hospital of choice for Central Vermonters seeking high-quality care and an employer of choice for some of the region’s and even the nation’s best health care professionals.”

A special ceremony with Gov. Peter Shumlin; Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Dr. Susan Wehry; Vermont Health Care Association Executive Director Laura Pelosi and others is planned for April 6 from 3-4 p.m. at Menig to recognize the nursing home’s most recent and largest-ever achievement – the top 39 national ranking. Menig was the only nursing home in Vermont to make the listing.