Top News from 2006

December 18, 2006                                      RON HALLMAN, 388-4744


MIDDLEBURY-Porter Hospital has implemented a new medication delivery system that integrates patient-safety software with intravenous (I.V.) infusion devices. "The new system will help manage the medication administration process by defining medication dose limits and tracking I.V. drug delivery at the patient bedside" according to Pharmacy Director, Paul Ronish.  "This new technology is an investment in ensuring patient safety and improving patient care", he added.

The medication delivery system was developed by Hospira, Inc, one of the largest hospital products manufacturers in the United States. According to the Company, this system is designed to "help nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other clinical staff to help ensure that the right patient receives the right drug, dose, time and rate of infusion every time."

With this new equipment and software, Porter will be able to create a customized library of up to 2,700 I.V. drug and fluid names prescribed throughout the hospital, and program specific dosing limits for up to 18 different clinical areas. Porter will also be able to set both "soft" and "hard" dose and rate-setting limits for multiple infusions delivered through the same pump.  Soft limits allow clinicians to manually override dose limits (with confirmation) if they require delivery of a dose outside of the hospital's established guidelines.  The hospital also can set hard limits that staff cannot manually override.

The system alerts clinicians if they have programmed a medication dose outside of the predetermined limits set by the hospital, and also logs these alerts, which allows Porter to track trends in compliance with dosing an clinical best practices.

"This new system represents an important step forward in ensuring patient safety, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to make it available to our patients", Ronish added.

December 18, 2006                                      RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

PMC Annual Meeting Scheduled for January 25th

Please join us for the Porter Medical Center annual meeting on Thursday evening, January 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Kirk Alumni Center on the campus of Middlebury College. If you would like a complete annual meeting packet of information, please call Laurie Borden at ext. 738.


November 17, 2006                                      RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Middlebury--Nearly $300,000 in new contributions and pledges for the North Project capital campaign have been received by Porter Hospital since early September, as the hospital continues its final push to raise $5 million for the project. Total contributions now stand just shy of $4.5 million according to PMC President, James L. Daily, who has been very encouraged by the ongoing and very generous community support of Porter.

"We originally had set our sights on a $4 million capital campaign goal as we were planning our North Project, but regulatory delays and necessary re-designs increased the total cost of the project-necessitating that we increase our campaign goal of $5 million", he said.  "This is a real stretch for our organization at this stage of our project-but I have been amazed at the generous gifts we have received this fall from both new donors and long-time friends who have extended their existing pledge by another year or so to help us complete this campaign."

The first major phase of the North Project, the new  birthing center and surgical care center, opened last week and is now operational. Over the next several months, the Bread Loaf Corporation will complete the project with renovations to the former maternity department and the creation of a new landscaped garden in memory of Porter volunteer B.J. Calhoun.

"This is definitely the most challenging phase of any capital campaign, as you make the final push to the finish line, and it may still take us several months to get there, but I am confident that we will make it", Daily added.

Daily reports that community feedback regarding the first phase of the project has been overwhelmingly positive as the new wing was the cite of numerous community events in early November prior to the Dedication on November 10th. "Everyone I have spoken with, including our own staff, has a great deal of enthusiasm and pride regarding the new facilities we have just opened, and I believe that these positive feelings will give us a boost as we work to finish both the remainder of the project and our fund-raising."


October 5, 2006                                      RON HALLMAN, 388-4744Click on Photo to see more...

MIDDLEBURY-Porter Hospital will unveil and dedicate its new Birthing Center and Surgical Care Center at a ceremony on Friday, November 10th at 3:00 p.m.   The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in an area adjacent to the new "North Wing", on the north side of the hospital campus.

The ceremony will include brief remarks and acknowledgements by hospital board chairman, Joe Sutton, Medical Staff President Dr. Allan Curtiss Porter Medical Center President James L. Daily and PMC board chair, Steve Terry.


September 1, 2006                                      RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY-An anonymous "Challenge Grant" of $50,000 to Porter Medical Center has provided an unanticipated boost to the final phase of the capital campaign for the long-anticipated "North Project" modernization. PMC President James L. Daily recently learned of this commitment from two long-time friends of Porter, who want to encourage others to make new pledges in support of the new Birthing Center and Surgical Care Center, scheduled to open in November.

"We have raised well over $4 million to date and are about to launch the final phase of our efforts to secure a total of $5 million-and this challenge will certainly be helpful both financially and to inspire other generous pledges as we begin this final push", Daily said.

The donors have offered to match on a dollar for dollar basis all new donations to the campaign from September 1 through November 1 up to $50,000.

"Anyone making a new pledge or donation to our project in September or October can have their contribution doubled thanks to this Challenge Grant" Daily said.

For more information about the project, campaign or challenge grant, contact the PMC Development Office at 388-4744.


Porter Hospital clinic moves to open scheduling - an article from the Rutland Herald.


Porter Hospital serves as mentor in life saving campaign - an article from the Burlington Free Press.


June 5, 2006                                             RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY - Porter Hospital recently added a new advanced technology called the "InstaTrak Surgical Navigation System", to make endoscopic surgeries safer and more effective according to PMC President, James L. Daily.

The new surgical navigation system enable Porter's ENT surgeon, Dr. Anders Holm, to see areas of a patient's sinuses and skull anatomy in more detail than ever before, in addition to visualizing the exact position of surgical instruments during the procedure.

More than 300,000 people in the United States undergo a procedure called Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS) each year to repair sinus disorders. Candidates for the procedure include patients with chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, failed nasal surgery, chronic sinus headaches and other sinus problems that may require surgical repair. According to Dr. Holm, the InstaTrak system will allow Porter Hospital to provide a higher level of care to local patients requiring ESS.

"For the 35 million people who suffer from chronic sinusitis, this technology offers new hope for lasting relief, and we are pleased to offer this new technology and higher level of safety to our Addison County ESS patients," said Dr. Holm.

During a typical ESS procedure, an endoscope, which acts like a miniature telescope, illuminates the surgeon's view of the sinuses. But, also like a telescope, the endoscope only provides a view of the immediate surface area and does not allow the surgeon to see around corners. Because of the proximity of the sinuses to the eyes and brain, the InstaTrak System can reduce the risks related to the procedure. The surgeon can precisely see the position of surgical instruments and the movement of the instruments can be tracked in real time, allowing the surgeon to more accurately seek out and remove diseased tissue.

The Surgical Navigation system builds a computerized model of a patient's skull anatomy with computed tomography scans (CT scans) taken prior to surgery. These images displayed on a computer monitor provide a road map for the surgeon to follow.

Additionally, the electromagnetic tracking system links the instruments used in the surgery to the system's computer. During surgery, the tip of the instrument inserted into the patient's nostrils appears on the computer monitor as a set of cross hairs, which move through the computerized model of the patient's skull. This allows the surgeon to see the exact location of the surgical instrument in relation to the patient's anatomy.

"As we prepare to move into our new state-of-the-art surgical suite this fall, we are continuing to assess and upgrade our technology to ensure that the people of Addison County have access to the highest level of care in keeping with our community hospital mission," Daily added.


May 3, 2006                                                RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY--The most important and ambitious modernization project in the history of Porter Hospital is well-underway with a target of opening the new North Wing by November of this year.

The new 29,000 square foot addition will contain Addison County's first Birthing Center and a completely modernized Surgical Department with state-of-the-art equipment and adequate facilities to provide the highest quality medical care services to our community.

In addition to the two traditional operating suites, the new surgical department will have a new Special Procedure room for outpatient and minor surgical procedures, as well as a room dedicated to Endoscopy services.

The Birthing Center will offer a "home-like" setting to ensure family-centered care in an environment that is both comfortable and modern-featuring four new "Birthing Rooms" and other specialized resources for mothers and babies.  By the summer of 2007, a new landscaped courtyard will be added-along with renovations to existing areas of Porter Hospital.

The $16.4 million project has been funded, in part, by generous community donations including a $1 million gift from Middlebury College.

For more information about this project or the capital campaign, please call 388-4744.


MARCH 31, 2006                                     RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Middlebury, VT - Porter Hospital has received a grant of $5,000 from The Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, one of over 100 affiliates nationwide dedicated to putting an end to breast cancer. The grant is part of the annual awarding of grants throughout Vermont and New Hampshire supporting various programs that provide breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. This year, a total of $433,800 has been awarded.

The Komen Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate's local fundraising efforts, such as the Komen Vermont.New Hampshire Race for the Cure, have enabled it to fund projects such as Porter's "Breast Cancer Screening and Education Project" which offers low-cost mammography services to local women with no health insurance or high deductibles or co-pays.

"In order to ensure our funds are making the greatest impact, the Komen Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate works with local medical experts and community leaders to conduct comprehensive community needs assessments," said Richard D. Lovett, MD, Komen Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate Grants Committee Chair.  "We have identified specific, unmet breast health needs within our community and 'filled in the gaps', delivering the life-saving message of early detection and providing assistance to medically-underserved breast cancer patients and their families."

Last year, Komen Affiliates collectively granted more than $30 million to support non-duplicative breast health and breast cancer outreach projects in their communities. Up to 75 percent of funds raised by a Komen Affiliate remains in the community to fund local breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs. Remaining net income (a minimum of 25 percent) supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Award and Research Grant Program, which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research, meritorious awards and educational and scientific programs around the world.

The Komen Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Thanks to more than 75,000 volunteers dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, the Komen Foundation, with its Affiliate Network, is the world's largest private funder of community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs.  Together with its Affiliate Network, corporate partners and generous donors, the Komen Foundation has raised nearly $600 million for the fight against breast cancer.

The 2006 Vermont/New Hampshire Race for the Cure will be held at Hildene's Meadowlands in Manchester, Vermont on Sunday, July 30, 2006.

For more information about breast health or breast cancer, visit the Komen Foundation's Web site,, or call its national Toll-Free Breast Care helpline, 1-800 I'M AWARE (1-800-462-9273). To learn more about the Porter Hospital program, contact Heidi Sulis at 388-4739.


FEBRUARY 27, 2006                                  RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

MIDDLEBURY--The Rehabilitation Department at Porter Hospital announces that "Occupational Therapy Driver Evaluation & Rehabilitation Services" are available for the first time in Addison County. 
Rehabilitative driving services are necessary when a person has a medical impairment (e.g. low vision, an amputated limb, a stroke, a learning disability) that might affect his/her driving skills.  In addition, this new program provides a resource for parents that have teens with special driver education needs or who have concerns about an aging parent with diminishing safe-driving skills.

Porter Hospital is collaborating with the Driver Rehabilitation Institute (DRI) to offer these services to the residents of Addison County. This allows hospital clients to receive on-road evaluation and training services locally and means that in some cases, the initial part of the driving evaluation (the Advanced ADL evaluation) can be provided through the Occupational Therapy staff at Porter. 

When this Advanced ADL evaluation is conducted by Porter staff and is covered by the person's medical insurance, it offsets the total cost of the full two-part driver evaluation to the participant (a typical savings of about $125). The on-road part of the driving evaluation, which involves going out on the road with the participant as the driver, takes place in a driver education vehicle with a DRI Occupational Therapist who is simultaneously licensed as a Vermont Driver Training Instructor.  This part of the evaluation is not currently covered by any insurance company or Medicare (with the exception of Worker's Compensation). Thus, participants who don't use a community funding resource, such as vocational rehab services, must pay out of pocket for this service (in the range of $300 to $550).

The Porter Hospital Occupational Therapist participating in this new program is Becky Miller, OTR/L.  Ms. Miller works out of Porter's Outpatient Rehab Department.  The staff at DRI include Miriam Watson, Occupational Therapist and Director; Kenneth Byers, staff Occupational Therapist; and Kim Cyr, Program Coordinator.

The DRI is a non-profit service company headquartered in Essex Junction. Their mission is to facilitate independence in community mobility and driving skills for all Vermonters through innovation, education and research.  Questions may be directed to Becky Miller at Porter Hospital, 388-4701, ext.777.


JANUARY 26, 2006                                 RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital Now Provides a Softer Mammogram

MIDDLEBURY -- Porter Hospital now provides a new product that eases the discomfort many women feel when they get a mammogram. According to Porter Hospital Vice President for Patient Care, Pat Jannene, the FDA-cleared foam cushion, called MammoPad, creates a softer, warmer mammogram. "We hope that new product will increase the number of women coming in for their yearly mammograms," Jannene said.

"The discomfort many women feel during mammography compression is widely known to be a reason that some don't get regular screenings," Jannene said.  "In addition to compression, the cold surfaces and hard edges of the mammography device make the experience uncomfortable for some patients." She added, "The breast cushion answers these complaints by providing a soft warm cushion for the breast during mammography, and because women are more relaxed during the exam, it makes it even easier for our mammography technologists to get the best possible image."

The single-use, adhesive-backed foam cushion attaches to the compression plates of the mammography device. It was developed by Stanford University breast surgeon Gale Lebovic, MD, who understood mammography discomfort from both a physician and patient's point of view.  The recyclable breast cushion is "invisible" to X-rays and does not interfere with the image quality of the mammogram.

"We try to create the best possible experience for our patients," said James L. Daily, President of Porter Hospital. "We're pleased to be able to offer our patients this important enhancement."

The American Cancer Society reports women can greatly reduce their risk of death from breast cancer if they receive regular mammographic screens. For this reason, both the society and the American College of Radiology recommend that women 40 and older receive mammograms yearly.

Yet despite the urgency of this message, nearly 40 percent of American women don't get regular recommended mammograms.  Studies have shown mammography pain is a major reason some women do not return for annual screening. This new foam cushion been clinically studied in both the U.S. and Sweden, where evaluations in more than 1,300 patients found approximately 70 percent experienced a significant reduction in pain when the cushion was used.

"Early detection of breast cancer can make the crucial difference between life and death," said Pat Jannene. "Mammograms identify lumps that a woman's self-exam wouldn't find until an average of 1.7 years later. That is why regular mammograms are the only scientifically proven way to reduce breast cancer mortality. This breast cushion removes a major barrier to women receiving this important procedure."

For more information, call the Porter Hospital Radiology Department at 388-4701, ext 757.


JANUARY 12, 2006                               RON HALLMAN, 388-4744

Porter Hospital has been selected by the nationally recognized "Institute for  Healthcare Improvement" (IHI), headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as one of five "Mentor Hospitals" in the U.S. to serve as an informational resource for other rural hospitals seeking to improve their surgical site infection rate.

From October, 2004 - June, 2005, Porter Hospital, along with all other Vermont hospitals, participated in an IHI quality improvement project focusing on reducing surgical site infections.  "Reduction of surgical site infections has been identified by the IHI as one of six basic measures that could save as many as 100,000 lives a year if 2,000 U.S. hospitals adopted them", said Porter Hospital Vice President for Patient Care, Pat Jannene.  Currently, more than 3,000 hospitals nationwide are participating in this "100,000 Lives Campaign" according to the IHI website.

"Surgical site infections are a major cause of complications after operations" according to Don Berwick, President of the IHI and clinical professor of health  care policy at Harvard Medical School. "Specific strategies that have proven to work include giving the right antibiotics at the right time during surgery, enforcing strict hand-washing and avoiding shaving the surgery site before the operation."

An announcement from the IHI indicating that Porter Hospital has been designated as a mentor hospital, states that not only did Porter reduce its surgical site infection rate down to 0% during the project, but that Porter has not had a single surgical site infection since the project began more than a year ago.  "That is 412 straight operative cases within the Porter IHI project without an infection!" said IHI spokesperson Fran Griffin. "We will be featuring more about Porter's work on our web site soon" she added.

"Obviously, we are pleased to be regarded by the IHI as a resource for a significant quality measure and for our success in this important project" said Jannene. "Our surgical department staff and medical staff have worked hard to achieve these outstanding results.

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