*** Gifford Healthcare,Gifford’s Best Kept Secrets’ was the theme of the Randolph hospital’s 105th Annual Meeting of the Corporators held Saturday evening at Gifford. It is also the theme of the medical center’s 2010 year-in-review Annual Report.The report and meeting described the hospital’s efforts around cancer, surgical and emergency care. Talked about were little known programs like the Gifford Adult Day Program in Bethel and inpatient rehabilitation in Randolph, and the availability of high-tech diagnostic imaging.‘‘I didn’t know Gifford did that.’‘ It’s a statement hospital staff and leaders hear regularly, hospital Administrator Joseph Woodin told corporators filling Gifford’s Conference Center. ‘So we put it in the Annual Report. I hope you read it and get the word out.’Also described were the hospital’s 11 consecutive years making its budget and operating margin.‘Our goal has always been an operating margin of 2.5 to 3 percent,’ said Woodin.Others have seen their budget dollars and operating margins swing wildly from highs to lows. Showing Gifford’s financial stability over the past decade, and thus modest but consistent investment, Woodin noted, ‘We actually do work quite differently than other organizations.’Part of its success is due to its planning efforts. The medical center is amid its fourth consecutive three-year strategic plan.‘What does the community need? What do our patients need? What does the hospital need?’ Woodin said the planning process asks and addresses.The current plan aims to make Gifford a medical center of choice for patients, staff and health providers by addressing quality, relationship building and teamwork. Long-term facility planning is another important component, but temporarily on hold due to looming health care reform and budget cuts in Montpelier.Woodin called Vermont a leader in the nation when it came to health care and showed a chart from the Commonwealth Foundation, an independent, non-profit research institute, ranking Vermont top in the United States when it comes to health care.‘In Vermont, we do very well. We’re currently the standard,’ said Woodin, who has testified before the Senate Finance Committee on health care reform. ‘My caution to the politicians is that we’re not trying to go from a C or D grade. We already have an A.’Rather than complete reform, or slashing budget cuts, Woodin proposed cost saving ideas that could be implemented now to reduce health care costs statewide. Not duplicating X-rays or other studies as patients move between community and tertiary care hospitals was one example. Limiting health care advertising was another. A third addressed the hospital budgeting process and savings that could be realized from a two-year budget cycle.Health care reform has been, and will continue to be, a discussion at all hospital Board of Trustees meetings, Chairman Bob Wright said, describing the active board’s monthly meetings and participation in committees. ‘It’s a well-informed board,’ he said, calling Gifford an ‘affective’ and ‘conscientious team.’‘Gifford’s pretty special. I’ve heard this from many different sources and in many different circumstances,’ said Wright.ElectionsWelcomed to that active board was Lincoln Clark of Royalton, a past board member. Clark replaces former Vermont Technical College president Ty Handy who has moved to Florida. Corporators were unanimous in their support for Clark.Also unanimously supported were new corporator members Rod and Marilen Tilt, John and Ruth Lutz, Mona Colton, Carol Bushey and Mike Ross.Awards and scholarshipsA host of awards and scholarships were also announced.Betina Barrett-Gallant, a Gifford employee and daughter of the late Dr. Richard Barrett, named Stockbridge resident and operating room nurse Fern Rogers the winner of this year’s $1,000 Dr. Richard J. Barrett Health Professions Scholarship.The award is given annually by the Medical Staff to an employee or employee’s child pursuing a health career. Rogers is pursuing her registered nurse degree at Vermont Technical College.The Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award is given annually to a White River Valley organization involved in the arts, health, community development, education or the environment. Levesque was Gifford’s president and chief executive officer from 1973-1994.This year’s winner of the Levesque award is the Granville Volunteer Fire Department, family physician Dr. Ken Borie announced. The volunteer fire department will use the funds to buy medical equipment to help launch a first response team to medical emergencies in Granville, Hancock and the surrounding area as necessary.And William and Mary Markle Community Foundation grants amounting to nearly $25,000 were given to 14 area organizations, including several food shelves and many children’s recreation programs.This year’s winners, announced Development, Marketing and Public Relations Director Ashley Lincoln, were:â ¢ Bethel Food Shelf ‘ $1,490 to purchase a refrigerator and freezerâ ¢â ¢ Cabot Recreation Dept. ‘ $1,500 for snowshoes and soccer goalsâ ¢â ¢ Chelsea Little League Baseball ‘ $1,580 for a pitching machine and pitchers’ screenâ ¢â ¢ Chelsea Recreation Association ‘ $2,000 for summer camp swimming lessonsâ ¢â ¢ Gifford Family Center ‘ $1,800 for family educational workshopsâ ¢â ¢ Gifford Pharmacy Department ‘ $2,718 for ‘Cactus Smart Sinks’ for the safer disposal of medicationsâ ¢â ¢ Green Mountain United Way ‘ $1,200 for its Building Healthy Communities activity programâ ¢â ¢ Randolph Area Food Shelf ‘ $2,500 toward its building relocation and renovationsâ ¢â ¢ Randolph Elementary School ‘ $1,500 for an industrial-grade food processor for the Farm to School Programâ ¢â ¢ Randolph Village Fire Dept. ‘ $750 for a gas detector for a new pumper truckâ ¢â ¢ Randolph Wrestling Club ‘ $1,500 to create a nonprofit club and program supportâ ¢â ¢ Randolph Youth Basketball ‘ $1,575 for a score clock and other program supportsâ ¢â ¢ Rochester Public Library ‘ $2,000 in matching dollars toward the purchase of an elevatorâ ¢â ¢ South Royalton Community Food Shelf ‘ $2,495 for a freezerâ ¢Formally the Gifford Community Health Grant Program, the grants were renamed for the late Bill Markle and his wife Mary in 2009. Bill Markle had been a former board member and long-time supporter of Gifford. Mary Markle was in attendance, along with about 90 others, at this year’s Annual Meeting when the grants were announced.Gifford has been offering the annual grants to community non-profits for 10 years, amounting to nearly $250,000 given to the community in the last decade, Lincoln noted.Special presentationThe meeting concluded with a special presentation from Gifford’s Surgery Division leaders ‘ Medical Director and general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli, Vice President of Surgery Rebecca O’Berry and nurse manager Jamie Floyd.The trio described the breadth of surgical and specialty services at Gifford, including podiatry, urology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, general surgery, anesthesia, neurology and pain management.‘We’re very unique. Many hospitals of larger size don’t have this amenity,’ Dr. Ciccarelli said of the pain management care provided by specialist Dr. Lan Knoff.O’Berry said that was the beauty of Gifford.‘We never think of ourselves as a small institution. We look at ‘What does the community need?’‘ she said.Urology is an example. There are only 400 urologist in all of the United States and Canada. Gifford currently has two working part-time as well as a full-time, experienced urology physician assistant. And the medical center just recruited a third provider, Dr. Richard Graham, who is slated to start in May.Gifford also offers some specialties in multiple locations for the convenience of patients, including urology, which is in Randolph and White River Junction. Podiatry is in three locations ‘ Berlin, Randolph and Sharon.Specific services were also described along with technology and quality improvements.Floyd called cataract surgery ‘ a simple, quick and needle-free procedure ‘ one of the most ‘life altering’ surgeries. ‘It’s really amazing to walk into an OR with someone who can’t see and to walk out 20 minutes later with someone with nearly 20/20 vision,’ he said.New technology included updated sterilization machines, a new ‘mini c-arm’ for use by primarily Gifford’s podiatrists to get an image or continuous live view of a joint during surgery.Thanks to the generosity of a donor, who gave the hospital $200,000 to purchase a stereotactic breast biopsy system, the hospital will soon add this technology. Stereotactic breast biopsies are less invasive than surgical options and especially beneficial for women with an abnormality near the chest wall.Quality improvements have included a move toward a latex-free operating room, a surgical safety checklist and patient survey, and even new clocks ‘ a small but meaningful change.Previously, clock times varied by several minutes one way or the other. A patient could leave the operating room at say 11:26 a.m. and ‘ remarkably ‘ arrive in recovery suite at 11:24 a.m. Or, they could leave operating room at 11:26 a.m. and not arrive in the recovery suite ‘ just a short distance away ‘ until quite a few minutes later.The new clocks are linked to a central radio transmitter, meaning each reads the same time and patient charts reflect these accurate, consistent times.Source: Gifford www.giffordmed.org(link is external). Photos Gifford Medical Center Administrator Joseph Woodin speaks at Saturday’s 105th Annual Meeting of the Gifford Corporators ‘ a citizen body that helps oversee the hospital, serves as community liaisons and committee members, and elects the Board of Trustees.Kitchen and maintenance teams.Surgery Division Medical Director and general surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli describes the vast array of surgery and specialty services available at Gifford.Podiatrist Dr. Paul Smith uses the ‘mini C-arm’ during surgery.