North Country Hospital mandates flu vaccines for employees

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copyright the Chronicle October 18, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Many people think influenza is just an unpleasant fact of life, but according to Dr. Maria Fatigati it kills around 30,000 Americans each year. That, she said Monday, is around the same number of people who die annually from breast cancer and in traffic accidents.

Unlike breast cancer and accidents, there is a way to halve one’s chances of getting the flu, Dr. Fatigati said. That’s by getting vaccinated.

North Country Hospital is responsible for people who are already weakened by illness, so it has decided to protect its patients by making sure all employees at the hospital have been immunized against the disease.

In a recent interview, hospital CEO Claudio Fort said he made the decision to make inoculation against flu a condition of employment at North Country after seeing the experience of other hospitals that have taken the step and consulting with his medical staff.

Mr. Fort said Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Northeastern Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury have both successfully implemented the plan.

“People don’t like to be mandated to do something,” Mr. Fort admitted. He said the hospital allows exceptions for those with deeply held spiritual or religious beliefs and for workers who are severely allergic to components in the vaccine or have other medical reasons to avoid the inoculation.

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A new kind of prescription — local veggies

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copyright the Chronicle August 2, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT — Sometimes food is the best medicine.

And North Country Hospital has found a way to provide healthy food to at least a few of the people who need it most here in the Kingdom.

Last Thursday, the hospital launched a program called Health Care Share, that will put a weekly bag of locally grown fruits and vegetables into the kitchens of people suffering from chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, said Community Relations Director Wendy Franklin.

Doctors “prescribe” the fresh produce for their patients who meet health and eligibility guidelines, she said.

The program, which is by pre-registration only, is already filled for the year.

All told, it will serve about 80 families.

The majority of the people signed up for the Health Care Shares program pick up their bags at the hospital in Newport. But a small group will be served at the Barton clinic.

When participants come to pick up their vegetables, they get a chance to taste samples of the week’s featured foods. Last week, that meant sticks of raw vegetables and a cilantro-lime dressing to dip them in.

Everyone got a newsletter with recipes and cooking tips, and a manual full of nutrition information and ideas for healthy eating.

“Some of these foods are new to people,” Ms. Franklin said.

 

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Welch talks health care at North Country Hospital

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copyright the Chronicle July 12, 201

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — U.S. Representative Peter Welch sandwiched a visit to congratulate Revision Military for winning a $98-million contract between meetings with Orleans County organizations, including North Country Hospital, here on July 6.

Representative Welch also looked in at the Lunchbox at Gardner Park. The food truck is a project of Green Mountain Farm-to-School and serves free lunches to children around the county.

Mr. Welch filled a few orders, but spent much of his time talking with Farm-to-School’s recently appointed executive director, James Hafferman, and with Superintendent John Castle of the North Country Supervisory Union, who serves on the Farm-to-School board of directors.

Both men shared concerns about proposed cuts to the federal budget they said could seriously hurt their organizations. Over plates of salad they discussed the potential for harm they think might come from actions being contemplated in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Castle worried that the North Country Supervisory Union could lose $500,000 in Medicaid funds it uses to support a variety of programs in schools around the area, including drug and alcohol counseling.

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Major changes for cancer treatment in Newport area

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copyright the Chronicle February 8, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — A decision by Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center administrators could mean major changes for cancer treatment in the Newport area. While the decision that came out of Hanover, New Hampshire, precipitated the changes, some may have been in the offing in any event, according to Claudio Fort, the CEO of North Country Hospital

He said in an interview on February 4 that he was surprised to get the call from Dartmouth Hitchcock informing him that two doctors who had been traveling north to treat cancer patients at his hospital would no longer do so as of April 13. But Mr. Fort said that increasing costs for the drugs used in chemotherapy and a stricter set of rules from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were already causing the hospital to rethink how it treats cancer patients.

The two physicians, Dr. Sergey Devitskiy and Dr. Ronal Kubica, will continue to practice at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s outpost in St. Johnsbury, Mr. Fort said. But they will no longer see patients in Newport.

Dr. Les Lockridge, who set up a private practice in Newport in 2012 after the hospital let him go when it closed its department of oncology and hematology, said Tuesday that he is willing to see what he can do to make up for the loss of the two Dartmouth-affiliated doctors.

Ironically, it was the willingness of Dr. Devitskiy and Dr. Kubica to travel to Newport that enabled the hospital to close its own oncology department.

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Evacuated Union House residents start to return

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A tired firefighter, Alan Quintal of Barton, rests and cools off after coming out of the Union House.  Photo by Elizabeth Trail

A tired firefighter, Alan Quintal of Barton, rests and cools off after coming out of the Union House. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle May 20, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

GLOVER — The Union House Nursing Home’s 40 residents, who were evacuated Sunday for what was at first thought to be a fire, will be able to start returning on Wednesday, owner Pat Russell said.

“We just had our inspection, and could start filling beds today,” Ms. Russell said Tuesday.

The nursing home’s occupants were speedily evacuated with help from staff, ambulance squads, law enforcement, and community volunteers who pitched in and helped, Ms. Russell said.

For several hours on Sunday afternoon, lights flashed and sirens blared as ambulances, fire trucks, and emergency responders crowded Glover Village responding to a call from the Union House Nursing Home.…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Superior Court: Attempted murder charge against North Troy stabber dropped

Jennifer Ahlquist, right, sits with her lawyer, Jill Jourdan, at her arraignment in March.  Ms. Ahlquist admitted stabbing her husband and on Thursday, December 5, received a sentence that did not include jail time.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Jennifer Ahlquist, right, sits with her lawyer, Jill Jourdan, at her arraignment in March. Ms. Ahlquist admitted stabbing her husband and on Thursday, December 5, received a sentence that did not include jail time. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle December 11, 2013

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Jennifer Ahlquist, who stabbed her husband after finding him at a 19-year-old’s house, will not do jail time.  Under the terms of a plea agreement, Ms. Ahlquist, 41, of North Troy, saw the most serious charge against her — attempted second degree murder — dismissed by the state.

She pled guilty to felony charges of first degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon and unlawful trespass in an occupied residence, as well as to simple assault.

Sentencing for the aggravated assault charge was deferred for seven years and six months, said Judge Gregory Rainville, who presided Thursday, December 5, in the Orleans Criminal Division of Superior Court.  That means the charge will be expunged from Ms. Ahlquist’s record if she does not get into further legal trouble in that period.

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