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February 15, 2012                                                      RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Porter Hospital to Relocate and Expand Primary Care - Bristol to Improve Access to Primary Care

MIDDLEBURY--Ensuring adequate access to primary care services for the people of Addison County is among the highest priorities now facing Porter Hospital and every other Vermont hospital according to a recent report published by the Vermont “Area Health Education Center” (AHEC).

According to this report, “In Vermont, during the three year period 2009 to 2011, there was a persistent shortage of more than 50 general internal medicine physicians relative to national benchmarks. This shortfall was pervasive, impacting every region of the state. Over the same period, the supply of family medicine physicians, who serve both children and adults, hovered around the adequate level statewide, with supply and distribution varying by region.”

The report also states that these challenges will persist into the future. “Given the aging of the population, the aging of the primary care workforce, and competition from other states to recruit primary care practitioners, Vermont will continue to face challenges in both maintaining and increasing the supply of primary care practitioners for adults.”

A December, 2011, “Community Perception Survey”, conducted by Porter Hospital, affirmed that access to primary care is a top community concern. According to this report, “By far the most commonly cited weakness (in the local health care system) was the lack of access to providers--particularly primary care.”

With this backdrop, the Porter Hospital Board of Directors recently approved a plan to relocate and expand the hospital’s primary care practice in Bristol into the new “Bristol Works!” complex (former home of Autumn Harp).

By early August, Porter plans to complete this relocation and simultaneously welcome a new physician, Dr. Emily Glick, into the new and larger Bristol practice location. In addition to offering more exam rooms to accommodate additional providers and see more patients, the new office will have space for the new “Community Health Team” members who will be providing services consistent with the Vermont Blueprint for Health initiative. This program aims to provide better coordination of services for patients and offer education, support and resources designed to support patients with chronic health conditions better manage their disease and improve their health status over time.

“We are very enthusiastic about this new facility and the opportunity it provides Porter to better meet the needs of our patients in Bristol and surrounding communities and ensure adequate and timely access to primary and preventive health care,” said PMC President James L. Daily. “We also are gratified to be playing a positive role in the development of the “Bristol Works!” project and hope that our presence as a major tenant in this complex can also support economic development for the community.”

Daily indicates that early response from patients and the local community to this project has been overwhelmingly positive, and that he looks forward to the completion of this project later this year.




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