Porter Medical Center announced nine recent hires in the Primary Care sector of the hospital this past August, in an effort to better meet community health needs.
Based on the Addison County Community Needs Assessment and Porter’s Community Health Improvement Plan, it was determined that there needed to be a shift from a crisis-based approach to a preventive care approach. This shift includes new providers and new technology.
Porter Primary Care physician Dr. Natasha Withers wrote in a press release on the hospital’s website that “keeping people healthy takes a diversified team of people working together to ensure our community has access to the right care.”
This new team includes mental health professional and psychologist Mark Frayne and primary care physician Melanie Connah. Porter’s new hires indicate a shift toward both increased attention on mental health, as requested by residents, and fuller coverage in the primary care department. The changes also include an option for patients to meet with a dietician, as well as self-management and education classes for those with issues such as diabetes or hypertension.
These changes are being made in Middlebury, along with the Porter branches in Vergennes and Brandon, Vt. Many of the new hires will also travel between the branches in order to improve access throughout Addison County.
In an effort to reach patients who may not be able to leave their homes, the Medical Center has also created a telehealth option, which is similar to that offered to students by Middlebury College through TimelyCare.
The implementation of telehealth, the virtual chart service MyChart for scheduling purposes and more convenient access to health records and the hiring of a nurse to support all three locations virtually are all steps towards innovation and increased use of technology in Porter’s medicinal care, according to the press release.