Top News from 2001:

November 28, 2001                                Ron Hallman, 388-4744

A recent grant to Porter Medical Center from The Oakland Foundation of West Virginia will allow Porter to establish new Palliative Care Project intended to better serve terminally ill patients with a variety of innovative approaches and resources.

According to project coordinator Anne Beauregard, a multidisciplinary group of physicians, nurses, social service workers, chaplaincy and other clinical and non-clinical staff have been meeting to design a new program to serve the special needs of terminally ill hospital patients during their final days of life. The specific goals of the task force include identification and treatment of suffering, improved communication between medical and nursing staff with patients and families, integration and continuity of care as patients move between the hospital, nursing home and home care settings in the course of serious and complex illnesses.

To achieve these goals, the Palliative Care Task Force identified a course curriculum and materials to be used to educate staff members on the most appropriate and effective approach to working with patients and families during this challenging time. "We also hope to bring speakers to our campus to further enhance our efforts to create a formal and effective Palliative Care project" according to Beauregard. "Additionally, we are seeking to attract local volunteers, with expertise in massage, music, art and herbal therapy to work with our terminally ill patients." 

Finally, the grant will allow Porter to purchase and supply a special "Sympathy Cart" which will include books, music, tape recorders, journals and other resources that may offer comfort to terminally ill patients.

"This is a very special and important type of care touches the lives of both our patients and their families-it is so helpful to have received this grant to allow us to move forward with a more formal effort of this nature," said Beauregard.


October 15, 2001                                               Ron Hallman,

Porter Hospital Receives Accreditation from College of American  Pathologists

Porter Hospital has been awarded an accreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent on-site inspection of the Hospital's Laboratory.

The laboratory's director, Julie Vest, was advised of this national recognition and congratulated for the "excellence of the services being provided." Porter Hospital operates one of the more than 6,000 CAP-accredited laboratories nationwide.

The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s, is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government's own inspection program.

Inspectors examine the records and quality control of the laboratory for the preceding two years, as well as the education and qualifications of the total staff, the adequacy of the facilities, the equipment, laboratory safety, and laboratory management to determine how well the laboratory is serving the patient.

The College of American Pathologists is a medical society serving nearly 16,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The CAP is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care.


July 9, 2001                                               Ron Hallman,

Dr. Anders Holm will be joining the Porter Hospital medical staff and the Porter ENT medical practice on August 1st according to PMC President, James L.  Daily.

Dr. Holm is an Otolaryngologist and will assume the Porter ENT practice following the retirement of Dr. Patrick Stine in late July. He is a native of Cornwall and earned his medical degree at the University of Vermont in 1996.

Dr. Holm recently completed a Residency Program in Otolaryngology at the University of Connecticut and Connecticut Children's Medical Center. His interests include pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck oncology, ear surgery and sinus surgery. He will be part of the teaching staff at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 388- 7037.


JUNE 4, 2001                                           Ron Hallman, 388-4744

People who live in the northern part of Addison County will soon have more convenient access to rehabilitation services offered by Porter Hospital. On June 11, the Porter Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Services Department (PROS) will open its first clinic in Vergennes at Primary Care - Vergennes.

"We are pleased to be offering easier access to our patients who live in Vergennes, Bristol or other surrounding towns," according to Rehabilitation Director Dayton Contois. "We have a similar satellite clinic in Brandon which has been very  well received by our patients in that region, so we are hopeful that this new site also will be viewed as a real benefit for patients and providers in the area."

The new clinic initially will be staffed three days a week by physical therapist, Kevin Cummings, who also works at the Middlebury satellite at the Vermont Sun Fitness Center.  Based on patient volume, other days and services such as occupational therapy may be added.

Patients may call the new clinic directly to schedule an appointment at 877-3378 or call the Porter Rehabilitation Department at 388-4777.


For Immediate Release                                For More Information Contact:
March 28, 2001                                               Ron Hallman, 388-4744

New Name Reflects Changes at Helen Porter Nursing Home

In recognition of a variety of strategic and operational changes now underway at Helen Porter Nursing Home, the HPNH Board of Directors recently voted to change the name of the facility to: Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.

The new name reflects both the ongoing evolution from traditional long-term care services to more "sub-acute" rehabilitation services, as well as a planned integration of a new dementia unit to help address an unmet community need for these services. A portion of the facility will continue to care for traditional long-term residents. At present, the new model calls for traditional long-term care beds to be located on the West Wing of the facility. These will be adjacent to the Sub-Acute/Rehabilitation Beds with the remainder of the licensed beds dedicated to a separate Dementia Unit on the East Wing.

"Long-term care has changed with more State funding going into the creation of new community-based options for the elderly, as well as a movement toward shorter hospital stays and the opportunity for nursing homes to provide more short-term rehabilitation services," according to Helen Porter Administrator, Neil Gruber. "Our average length of stay used to be measured in years, now it is measured in days," he added. To meet this need for rehabilitation services, Helen Porter now employs a team of physical, occupational and speech therapists, certified occupational and physicial therapy assistants and a nurse aide with special training in rehabilitation.

In addition to meeting a growing need for more rehabilitation services for recently discharged hospital patients and others, local people with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia traditionally have been referred to facilities in other communities. Gruber hopes that the with specialized staff training and some physical changes to the building, Helen Porter will soon be able to offer local families an option here in our community for long-term dementia services. A committee of the board has been named to investigate this portion of the project and recommend both operational changes and necessary renovations.

Other new services which have been recently added include a Respite Program for families in need of a place for a loved one to stay on a short term basis, as well as a new Hospice Program in concert with Addison County Hospice and the Addison ounty Home Health Care Agency.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                   DECEMBER 28, 2000
FOR MORE INFORMATION:                    RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

St. Stephen's Church in Middlebury has awarded its annual Sheldon Graves Grant of $9,000 to Helen Porter Nursing Home in support of the creation of a special rehabilitation/skilled nursing unit, and in recognition of the growth and importance of this service to our community.

"We are thrilled and deeply grateful to the Grants Committee, the Vestry and the membership of St. Stephen's Church for this most generous and helpful grant," said Neil Gruber, HPNH Administrator. "Clearly, providing short-term rehabilitation services at Helen Porter is a relatively new, fast growing and vitally important service for our residents and for the future of our organization," he said.

Helen Porter, along with all of the other traditional long-term care facilities throughout Vermont, has experienced significant financial challenges since the enactment of Act 160 by the State of Vermont in 1995. This law mandated that $20 million in Medicaid Funds be redirected from nursing home reimbursement to other "community based" options in order to defer or eliminate the need for a nursing home placement. The State is currently funding more than 80 "Medicaid Waiver" slots in Addison County allowing those individuals who meet eligibility criteria for nursing home placement to remain at home or in settings other than a nursing home.

Since 1995, average occupancy at HPNH has dropped from 116 residents to fewer than 100. According to Gruber, a drop in occupancy of 16 residents translates into an annual loss of more than $750,000 in revenue for Helen Porter. Additionally, HPNH has also experienced reductions in its daily Medicaid rate which has exacerbated the problem according to Gruber.

"The impact of Act 160 on our admissions and our financial future has caused our management and board to explore new options and services that we can provide which are needed and which will allow HPNH to survive in this challenging financial environment," Gruber said. The introduction of short-term rehabilitation services and creation of a special "Dementia Unit" have been identified by the nursing home as strategies to stabilize the financial future of Helen Porter.

"Special grants such as this are vital for Helen Porter Nursing Home during these times of change and challenge, especially as Porter Hospital seeks to raise other funds in our community for a major hospital renovation project and support a variety of important programs and services needed to meet the medical needs of the people of our region," according to Porter President, James L. Daily. "The Sheldon Graves Grant will play a key role in helping Helen Porter prepare for the future," he added.

According to Lawrence Miller, Chairman of the Sheldon Graves Grant Committee, the annual awarding of the Sheldon Graves Grant is one of the annual community outreach activities sponsored by St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Named for a generous benefactor of the church, the grant is funded by St. Stephen's Peasant Market, held each July, as well as by donations from the parish. "The grant is intended to support the planning, development, implementation or expansion of a major project by a non-profit agency based in Addison County," Miller said. "The funds are not intended to cover the regular operating expenses of an already established program, and the Grant Committee looks for a well-conceived project that will have broad impact in reaching those in need in the county," he added.


 Capital Campaign Update

JANUARY 3, 2001 Ron Hallman, 388-4744

A recent commitment of $100,000 from BFGoodrich in Vergennes to Porter Medical Center has put the 75th Anniversary Campaign for Porter Hospital past the $1 million mark.

"We are incredibly grateful to BFGoodrich for this significant pledge in support of this vitally important project to expand and improve our patient care facilities," said PMC President, James L. Daily. "Major commitments of this magnitude often make the difference in a capital campaign of this nature."

The capital campaign was first introduced to Porter board members, physicians and auxiliary members back in June and received an initial boost from a $250,000 pledge from the PMC Auxiliary. During the past six months, individual Auxiliary and Porter board members have pledged $191,886 to the campaign, medical staff gifts total $173,500 to date and other major commitments totaling more than $300,000 have been received from a small number of area business, service organizations and individual friends of Porter. As of this week, total commitments to the campaign are $1,002,000.

The capital campaign will support a $14 million construction project which will address a variety of serious and chronic facility issues according to Daily. Specifically, the Porter Surgical Suite, built 25 years ago and housing two traditional "operating rooms", does not have the capacity to handle either the volume or variety of outpatient surgical procedures now available at Porter  Hospital. With 14 surgeons representing seven areas of surgical specialties, these facilities (which were designed for two general surgeons in 1975) are inadequate from a variety of perspectives including insufficient "Recovery Room" space for the patients.

Additionally, the majority of surgical procedures today are performed on an outpatient ("same day surgery") basis and do not require resources available in a
traditional operating room. Thus, plans calls for the creation of a new unit offering
several "Special Procedure Rooms" to be used for laparascopic, laser or other outpatient surgical procedures that can be performed more efficiently and quickly in such a room designed for this purpose.

Additional "Recovery Rooms" also will be added to address both current surgical volume and projected future growth.

The new wing will also be the home of Porter's first "Birthing Center" which will offer area families with a home-like environment within the confines of a community hospital with immediate access to medical equipment and technology
if required.

"As we prepare to embark on what will be the largest single project in our organization's history--we have launched our 75th Anniversary Campaign for Porter Hospital to raise $2.5 million in support of this ambitious and important project," Daily said.

Other significant corporate and service organization pledges received during the early months of the campaign include major commitments from the Chittenden Bank, The John W. Pilger Trust, The Co-operative Insurance Companies of Vermont,The Walter Cerf Fund, The Middlebury Rotary Club, The First Brandon National Bank, Geiger of Austria. Foster Motors, Myron Hunt, Inc. and The Middlebury Grange.

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