NMC Commentary

What Were the Highlights of the Incorporators’ Meeting?

The recent semi-annual meeting of the NMC Board of Incorporators was an energized evening that clearly showed the Incorporators’ interest and engagement in the health of our community and future of our local not-for-profit hospital. The meeting opened with the presentation of the 2019 NMC Community Service Award to retired Emergency Department nurse and retired local legislator Kathie Keenan. This celebration of involvement and impact was followed by a presentation on the pressing priorities in the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment; operational updates from the Board, Leadership, Medical Staff, and Auxiliary; and an opportunity to for the Incorporators to provide input and perspective as part of the early stages of NMC’s strategic planning process. The Incorporators serve as a vital connection between NMC and our community, helping ensure NMC continues to be a trusted regional resource.

It was such a pleasure to be part of the presentation of the Community Service Award to Kathie Keenan.  She was recognized for more than 20 years of caring as a nurse, 30 years of leadership as a legislator, and such positive impact through service to the Samaritan House, Franklin County Home Health Agency, the Business & Professional Women’s organization, the United Way of Franklin County, and the NMC Incorporators. Our Board Chair, Leon Berthiaume, said “Kathie has been an active force working for the greater good in our community for many years while overcoming challenges and building positive relationships.”

It was important to share the priorities of the Community Health Needs Assessment with the Incorporators, as these issues are larger than any single organization or sector can handle alone. The top seven are mental health, substance abuse, obesity, suicide, domestic and sexual assault, food insecurity, and smoking/vaping. There was discussion of NMC’s efforts and plans relating to these priorities, which is just part of the larger effort across our community by so many partners and the RiseVT movement.  We are fortunate to live in a community where data such as this prompts interest and action rather than simply being gathered to meet a mandate.

Keeping the Incorporators current on our priorities allows them to share perspectives and serve as ambassadors. The Auxiliary gave an update on the deeply appreciated fundraising and volunteer activities. We reviewed the plans to address the nursing shortage and embed wellness in the core of St. Albans by partnering with Vermont Tech and Community College of Vermont to expand a nursing program at Congress & Main.  We reviewed NMC’s plans to renovate our Emergency Department for the first time since 1990 to improve safety, privacy, and efficiency. We talked about NMC’s migration to Meditech as an integrated electronic health record. We discussed the risks that the for-profit ambulatory surgery center opening in Colchester may undermine NMC’s care and the innovative steps NMC is taking to provide the same style service right here in our community. We also discussed the financial challenges NMC and Vermont’s other community hospitals are facing and how NMC is adapting to be sustainable.

The meeting closed with a fully-engaged idea sharing activity drawing perspective from the Incorporators on what NMC does well which must be maintained and expanded; where NMC can improve to better serve the community; and where people see NMC in the next five to ten years. The community hospital has been a trusted resource in northwestern Vermont since 1883 and through intentional, informed, and innovative strategic planning, we can ensure that local healthcare continues and our efforts to embrace healthier lifestyles for a healthier future are successful. I appreciate the Incorporators’ role in helping NMC transform and thrive.

— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer