Gifford’s Future: Primary Care

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Hospital’s Annual Meeting Puts Focus On the Positive

Uncertainty in the current health care environment can be allayed by Gifford Medical Center’s deep roots in primary care.

That was the message from Gifford President and CEO Dan Bennett, delivered to more than 65 community members gathered for Gifford’s 112th annual meeting, held March 3 at Morgan Orchard’s Senior Living Community in Randolph Center.

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“While we saw our share of challenges in 2017, we have a clear plan to meet them,” Bennett said. “Primary care is the gateway to accessing the health care system, and our team-based preventive and primary care model is uniquely positioned to succeed,” he said.

The year brought national and state recognition for Gifford. The primary care practices received the highest quality award of any federally qualified health center in Vermont, and all of the primary care practices achieved certification at Level 3, a measure recognizing the quality of care they provide.

Early in the year, Bennet said, the medical center had to deal with “challenges created by the loss of orthopedic, general surgery, and OB/GYN providers” as well as difficulty in recruiting primary care physicians and nursing staff.

According to the financial report in the Gifford Health Care’s annual report, FY16 ended with a deficit of $740,610. Gifford’s financial situation worsen in the last year: FY17 ended with a $2.7 million deficit.

Award for Pediatrics

The pediatric practice achieved the highest completion rate of immunization for HPV in Vermont, and last April it received a state award for best overall immunization rate for two to three-year olds, Bennett told the meeting.

He also noted an expanded community outreach program, which brought an increase in community involvement, including health screenings, substance use education, support for local law enforcement, and community lunches. New local and regional partnerships were forged with organizations like Health Hub, VTC, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Orthopedics, and the Norwich University’s nursing program.

Successful provider recruitment, institutional cost reductions, and organizational restructuring helped to build back capacity in several clinical areas by the end of the year, he said.

Following the president’s report, Dr. Scott Rodi spoke about the impact of the mental health crisis on community hospital emergency departments. Rodi was Gifford’s medical director and emergency room director from 2015 to 2017, and currently is regional director of emergency medicine at Dartmouth- Hitchcock Medical Center.

Scholarships, Awards

Savanna Andress was awarded the Dr. Richard J. Barrett Scholarship, a $1,000 award for a Gifford employee or an employee’s child pursuing a health care education. Andress is unit coordinator for Gifford’s inpatient unit; she is pursuing a registered nurse degree and will be taking courses this year at CCV and VTC.

Health Hub received the $1,000 Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award. The grant will support HealthHub’s mobile dental hygiene facility that travels to area schools from Sharon to Williamstown.

A registered dental hygienist provides cleanings, X-rays, sealants, and fluoride treatments to children and adults.

Trustees Elected

Gifford Board Chair Matt Considine recognized retiring members Bob Wright (12 years), Gus Meyer (12 years), and Sue Sytsma (12 years) for their years of service.

Elected to the Board of Trus­tees were Theron Manning of South Royalton, Ben Jickling of Randolph, and Jody Davignon of Randolph. Reelected were Todd Winslow of Wilder and Peter Nowlan of Randolph.

For the following year, Matt Considine will be board chair; Lincoln Clark, vice chair; Barbara Rochat, secretary; and Jody Davignon, treasurer.

Readers may find more information in Gifford’s 2017 Annual Report at


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