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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          FOR MORE INFORMATION:
October 6, 2014                                               Apoorva Stull (202) 955-3567 & Andy Reynolds (202) 955-3518

AREA MEDICAL PRACTICES EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR PATIENT-CENTERED CARE

NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home™ standards emphasize enhanced care through patient-clinician partnership

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has recently announced that Addison Family Medicine, Bristol Internal Medicine, Porter Internal Medicine Middlebury Family Health and Middlebury Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships. Four other area practices, Little City Family Practice, Rainbow Pediatrics, Mountain Health Center and Neshobe Family Medicine are in the process of completing their application for this important designation.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that these practices have the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, medical practices must demonstrate the ability to meet the program’s key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Friday, July 18, 2014                                                RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

ARCH “Family Center” addition planned for Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (HPHRC).

MIDDLEBURY--Building upon a collaboration which has already resulted in the creation of three “home-like” end-of-life rooms for area residents, Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (HPHRC) and Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) have agreed to move forward with another community service project— the construction of a new “Family Center” addition at Helen Porter. This project, which will be funded via a local fund-raising effort, will establish a new entrance, waiting area, kitchenette, bathroom and two private meeting rooms for families to use as they support a loved one residing in an ARCH Room.

ARCH’s vision, to expand end-of-life care options for patients who can no longer remain at home, began as a community initiative in 2004. The mission of this non-profit organization is to; “establish a home for the terminally ill, providing quality of life and support for families regardless of their ability to pay.” The ARCH rooms offer a local alternative of care similar to that provided at the Vermont Respite Home located in Williston.

The partnership between ARCH and HPHRC was forged in 2010 and with the help of a $25,000 donation from the Middlebury Lions Club, the first ARCH room was established in 2011 on Otter Creek Place at HPHRC. The Green Mountain Room, dedicated to the Middlebury Lions Club, was followed, in 2012, by The Champlain Room which was thoughtfully dedicated to former ARCH Board member Milo Schaefer. A third ARCH room was created to serve the particular aspects of care required by those residing on the Memory Care Neighborhood at HPHRC. Because this room was suggested by the loving staff of HPHRC care providers, this Addison Room was dedicated, in their name, in 2013.

Each room is furnished and decorated with a focus that acknowledges it as a patient’s residence during their final months, weeks, days or even hours. The staff, caring for these patients and their families, is specifically trained for the unique needs that come with the challenges and gifts that occur during the dying process.

Many of our residents, friends and neighbors have now experienced the personalized and compassionate care that is being delivered in the three ARCH rooms notes Daphne Jensen, Chair of the ARCH Board and longtime Hospice Volunteer.

She added: “Many testimonials and notes of gratitude have been received, including these words from a Bristol family — “It is with heartfelt thanks that my Mom had the opportunity to share her final journey with family and friends in an ARCH room. Her special loving caregivers continued to enjoy life with her in a warm and comfortable new room, which she loved! And, as her passing neared, her room became a “home away from home” for family, friends and caregivers, too. We feel so fortunate to have had the ARCH experience- a thoughtful space, an incredible staff whose care and love could not have been more supportive, and regular “courtesy carts” filled with treats to share with visitors…a final oasis for residents and their families. Addison County is so lucky that this service is available to all.”

“ Our community members deserve the best care possible during this poignant time”, Jensen notes. Another family expressed this hope in their appreciation, “On behalf of our mother, we cannot thank you enough for the extraordinary care Mom received in the Rehabilitation wing and in the ARCH room. Not only did Mom receive excellent attention, the staff brought our family food, drinks, pillows and hugs in the middle of the night. Thank you for making Mom feel so loved.”

Attentive to the ongoing needs of these patients and families, both HPHRC and ARCH have recognized the lack of space and privacy for the family members and friends present to the dying of a loved one. The importance and need of a “Family Center” is a logical addition that can no longer be postponed.

While planning for the Family Center continues, a second project is underway between ARCH and Porter Hospital to create an ARCH room on the Medical/Surgical floor of the hospital. While most people choose to die at home, very often this is not an option for those facing their final journey at Porter Hospital. The Porter staff, in recognition of the comfort that an ARCH room can provide their patients, attending family and friends, has approached ARCH to build a room there before the end of 2014.

It is hoped that these projects will demonstrate that ARCH, Porter Hospital and

HPHRC are very committed to the expansion of end-of-life care here in Addison County. “The ARCH Family Center and Porter Hospital ARCH room projects are meaningful elements of our community’s awareness to the love and attention we must give to those on their end-of-life journey,” said PMC President, James L. Daily. “We are very proud of our collaboration with ARCH at both Helen Porter and Porter Hospital to build upon the continuum of care available to our patients and residents.”

ARCH continues to identify the ongoing needs of Addison County relating to end- of-life care. Beyond the bricks and mortar, there should be a continued effort in education and conversation as it relates to death and dying. ARCH has partnered with other organizations to help bring forward issues surrounding Palliative Care and Hospice Care. Indeed, more can be done in preparation.

With Porter Hospital, HPHRC, Addison County Home Health & Hospice (ACHHH), Hospice Volunteer Services (HVS) and ARCH, community education and conversations around many aspects of end-of-life have been encouraged. Community presentations by Denys Cope, author of Dying a Natural Passage; Stephen Kiernan, author of Last Rights; and Dr. Ira Byock, author of The Best Care Possible and most recently the play Vesta have furthered the effort.

This year the theme for the collaboration of these five organizations is “Start the Conversation”. It encourages people to talk about death and dying, and complete their Advance Directives. The group is presenting at service organizations, faith communities and local exhibitions such as the Sustainability Expo. A free social event was held in May at 51 Main. Titled “Let’s Talk” and facilitated by Dr. Diana Barnard, the event incorporated several “skit-lets” which presented typical conversations between friends and family members about death and dying. There was food and a cash bar, in an atmosphere that was comfortable and informal for conversation. The latest paper resources for “Starting the Conversation” and Advance Directives were available, as well as people resources for particular questions—legal, medical, spiritual. The feedback from this event was very enthusiastic, so the group will provide this opportunity in other towns, with the next “Let’s Talk” at the Shoreham Inn, in October.

The group has a booth at Field Days and has created a website: www.addisoncountyconversations.org to provide more information and support to the community.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tuesday, July 2, 2014                                           RON HALLMAN, 802-388-4744

Posted on July 2, 2014 By John Flowers in the Addison Independent

More help on the way for opiate addicts, Bristol doctors to serve more Suboxone patients

MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center and the Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) will join forces to substantially expand the county’s only Suboxone program to help opiate addicts, a move that will allow Bristol Internal Medicine to deliver the much-needed service to 80-90 patients, up from the current 25.

The Porter board approved the expanded Suboxone program last week, and did so even with the prospect of a $200,000 annual budget hit.

Porter officials said they had been led by the Vermont Department of Health Access to believe that there would be some additional state funding for a standalone Suboxone clinic on the hospital campus. When the Department of Health Access ultimately declined, Porter and CSAC pursued the initiative through Bristol Internal Medicine.

“When we learned we would not be able to pursue the independent clinic approach, Dr. (Emily) Glick and some of the other providers on the medical staff approached us and said, ‘We would like to expand on the successful program being offered (in Bristol) and serve the patients that need to be served,’” Porter Hospital spokesman Ron Hallman said. “It was a great pivot.”

Suboxone is a medication that has proven effective in reducing the symptoms of opiate dependence. But Addison County currently has only one physician — Glick in Bristol — prescribing the drug. Glick has had to cap her Suboxone-related patient load at around 25, which unfortunately is but a small fraction of the requests for service that she receives. Indeed, Jean Cotner, vice president of Porter Practice Management, pointed to state statistics indicating there are 80 to 90 Addison County-based, Medicaid-eligible patients who must seek opiate addiction treatment in other counties.

So in an effort to better meet local needs, Porter and CSAC officials have agreed to almost quadruple the volume of patients that will be able to participate in the medication-assisted treatment program at Bristol Internal Medicine. A total of four primary care physicians based at Bristol Internal Medicine will soon be able to prescribe Suboxone, which will not be kept on premises. A substance abuse coordinator and a case manager will also be added to the office to make sure the patients receive ancillary services — such as counseling and job search assistance — to assist them in their overall recovery from opiate addiction.

The new prescribing physicians will be Drs. Gretchen Gaida-Michaels, Lynn Wilkinson and Will Porter, according to Cotner. The four physicians combined will be able to handle a patient load of 80 to 90, Cotner said. Organizers stressed the new duties would not preclude the participating physicians from maintaining their existing patient rolls.

“(These physicians) had some capacity to absorb some additional patients,” Hallman said. “It allowed them to serve more patients without expanding their hours.”

Local officials hailed the expanded medication-assistance program at Bristol Internal Medicine as a major development. Prior to Dr. Glick stepping forward, Addison County had been the only county in the state without a Suboxone/buprenorphine prescriber, confirmed Beth Tanzman, Blueprint for Health assistant director with the Department of Vermont Health Access.

“It’s great news that Porter and the Counseling Service are continuing to work together to bring this clinic to fruition,” Tanzman said on Tuesday when informed of the expanded Suboxone initiative through Bristol Internal Medicine.

The United Way of Addison County has earmarked $25,000 from a special account — known as the Addison County Funders’ Collaborative for Emerging Needs — to help Porter and CSAC with start-up costs for the expanded program. Fortunately, those start-up costs will be less than they would be for a new clinic because of the infrastructure and employee base already in place at Bristol Internal Medicine.

“I think everyone is pretty excited about this, to have this additional tool in the community,” said United Way Executive Director Kate McGowan, whose organization helped launch the Five-Town Drug and Safety Alliance–Treatment Committee, a coalition of citizens, community and religious leaders and members of the counseling and medical community in the Bristol area concerned about drug abuse.

“We are hoping this is just a first step, that this option will be embedded throughout the Porter health care system and not just at one practice,” McGowan said.

FINANCIAL CHALLENGES

Some state funding will be available to finance the case manager and substance abuse coordinator that will be added to the office, Cotner said. It’s the same state funding that is available to all physician offices that elect to take on medication-assisted treatment programs.

Still, it will present another financial hit to a nonprofit, community hospital already facing tough financial challenges. The state’s rural hospitals have been operating with razor-thin financial margins while contending with chronic under-funding through the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs. They have had to adjust to ongoing state and federal health care reforms and new responsibilities — such as a requirement that they periodically host psychiatric patients when the state’s mental health system is short of residential placements.

“Porter has estimated the direct and indirect expenses for providing this program at Bristol Internal Medicine will be in excess of $700,000,” reads a fiscal year 2015 budget narrative from Porter Medical Center to the Green Mountain Care Board, which is charged with approving all of the state’s hospital spending plans.

“The net result is an overall practice deficit of approximately $200,000.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin made national headlines this past January when he stressed the battle against opiates as his top priority in his 2014 state of the state address. Porter officials haven’t forgotten that speech.

“It is really hard to get around the fact that 80 percent of the state of the state address focused on opiate addiction and the primary mover here is the Agency of Human Services — a billion-dollar enterprise — couldn’t find $127,000 to make this happen in Addison County?” Porter Hospital President Jim Daily said.

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JIM DAILY

Hallman agreed.

“It’s fair to say we had anticipated some potential funding,” Hallman said. “It ended up not materializing. That caused us to step back and rethink our approach. To be candid, we were disappointed that the money did not come through. However, we now feel like our providers and the Counseling Service and hospital getting together and stepping up and going forward with an alternative plan has resulted in a really good model that will allow us to take care of our patients.”

Tanzman said state funding was not awarded for start-up of the county’s initial plan for a stand-alone clinic because it differed from the current model of prescribing Suboxone/buprenorphine through individual physician practices. She said the Bristol Internal Medicine model will qualify for the same annual support that flows to other practices. Tanzman said that Bennington County — which has roughly the same population as Addison County — currently has seven physicians prescribing Suboxone to a combined total of 170 Medicaid recipients.

Cheryl Huntley, CSAC’s operations director for youth, family and emergency services, stressed that the expanded Suboxone program should only be seen as a start in addressing a growing drug addiction problem in the state.

“Vermont will still struggle with inadequate treatment capacity,” she said. “But this is a great start.”

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           FOR MORE INFORMATION:
April 16, 2014                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802 388-4744

Surgical & OB Referral Line is Now Open

We have listened! Our new Surgical and OB Referral Line is ready. At the request of providers and patients, we are now offering a referral line. The Referral Line is 802-382- 3432. This referral line is staffed Monday-Friday 7:30A -4PM. The rest of the time there is a voicemail option that a message can be left and we will return the call on our next business day.

All calls from patients; office staff; referring hospitals and primary care providers can be assisted through this line.
Looking for a surgeon, or someone to do colonoscopies; an urologist? We will be able to direct you to who is on call.
New to the community? We will help you get an appointment with a surgeon or an OB provider.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           FOR MORE INFORMATION:
March 11, 2014                                                               RON HALLMAN, 802 388-4744

Member of the Green Mountain Health Board to Provide Keynote Address at
Porter Medical Center Annual Meeting

MIDDLEBURY--The 2014 Annual Meeting of Porter Medical Center will be held on Wednesday evening, March 26th at 7:00 p.m. at the Middlebury EMS Headquarters on the campus Porter Medical Center. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker will be Green Mountain Care Board Member, Dr. Allan Ramsay, who will address the topic: “Health Care Reform in Vermont: Implications for Primary Care and Community Hospitals.”

Dr. Ramsay is a Colchester-based primary care physician who has practiced in Vermont for 30 years, and his signature work is in the area of palliative care, where he has been a leader in developing models for assuring that patients’ wishes are followed at the end of their life. He is past Medical Director of Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Palliative Care Services and the founder of the Rural Palliative Care Network.

Dr. Ramsay had a long career in academic medicine. He has served as Residency Director and Vice Chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont and is now Professor Emeritus. He is a past member of the board of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties and the Board of the Community Health Center of Burlington.

Dr. Ramsay holds a medical degree from Emory University and is board certified in internal medicine, geriatrics, hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Ramsay lives in Essex Junction.

According to Dr. Ramsay: “If we shift the paradigm to focus on primary care that enables
Vermonters to achieve better health and eliminate barriers to providing quality care, the foundation is set to support each and every patient as well as the overall health of our state. That’s what we all want.”

In addition to the remarks by Dr. Ramsay, brief reports will be provided by PMC Board Chair Bill Townsend, PMC President, James L. Daily and Medical Staff President Dr. Linn Larson regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.Vermont following the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. “We are looking forward to having Congressman Welch as our speaker and hearing his insights concerning new or emerging health care and economic policy initiatives on the federal level,” said PMC board chairman Joe Sutton. “There is a very acute interest among the public in the widely anticipated economic stimulus package now being developed by Congress and the incoming Administration, and we hope that this interest will contribute to a very interesting annual meeting” he added.

In addition to the remarks by Congressman Welch, brief reports will be provided by Sutton and PMC President, James L. Daily, regarding the work of Porter Medical Center during the past year, and related topics of importance to our organization and community.

For more information call the Porter Medical Center public relations office at 388-4738.

 

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