NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s theme over this past year was “doing what’s right, not what’s expected.” The 117th annual meeting of the Board of Trustees held Oct. 22 at the Delaney House in Holyoke highlighted how doing what is right can improve patient care and hospital economics.
Using graphics projected onto a screen in front of 135 guests, Craig N. Melin, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, highlighted 10 initiatives where Cooley has advocated for the health of the community.
“We were the first to opt out of the smallpox vaccination program, a national protocol that told us that we should vaccinate our health care workers against smallpox. We believed the risks to our employees, doctors, and community outweighed the potential benefits,” Melin said, noting that, 10 months later, the protocol was retracted.
In providing patient care, Melin said, the hospital has made major strides in two innovative areas designed to keep people out of the hospital. The Community Care Management program tracks patients who were once admitted for congestive heart failure, a condition where a damaged, weakened heart muscle no long pumps blood efficiently.
“Congestive heart failure needs to be managed,” he said. “We have found that, by reaching out to patients at home through our community case manager who teaches patients about the importance of weight checks, diet, medication, and exercise, we are reducing and in some cases eliminating hospitalizations.”
The Hampshire HealthConnect program, Melin added, is a way to keep people healthy by keeping them connected with a health care program. “We link underinsured and uninsured people with health care options that meet their needs.”
With an annual operating budget of $115 million for the 2004 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, Melin says he is optimistic about the year ahead. “Cooley is growing, and we are working toward a facility that will provide enough space, including private rooms and additional operating rooms.”
In other business at the annual meeting:
• Linda S. Riley, RN, BC, and Ira Helfand, M.D. were awarded the William E. Dwyer Award for outstanding service on behalf of Cooley Dickinson Hospital. The award exemplifies loyalty, leadership, and dedication to improving the health of the community. Riley was instrumental in working with the hospital staff on the successful Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations survey, while Helfand was lauded for his leadership around the hospital’s position on smallpox and his work with the medical staff.
• Peter Siersma, M.D., an internist based in Williamsburg, was announced as the new president of the medical staff, a position that also participates on the Board of Trustees. Siersma replaces Helfand.
• Phyllis Maggiolino, who retired from her position as director of volunteer services at CDH in 2002, was announced as the new director of the Auxiliary, a 500-member volunteer organization that supports patients and hospital programs. She succeeds Susan Myers in that role.
• Lorna M. Peterson retired from the Board of Trustees after 12 years of service. Peterson has served in a variety of volunteer board positions, including board chair and most recently as chair of the Healthy Communities Committee, a board subcommittee.
• Several physician years-of-service awards were given: David Jackson, M.D., 40 years; Richard Humphreys, M.D., Robert Sullivan, D.D.S., Charles Weeber, M.D., 30 years; David Artezrounian, M.D., Alan Branch, D.M.D., Samuel Calagione, D.D.S., Bruce Goldstein, M.D., Rollin Johnson, M.D., Emlen Jones, M.D., Peter Kenny, M.D., Mohammad Moini, D.M.D., James Ratner, M.D., Robert Slocum, M.D., 25 years; David Chernock, M.D., Andrew Larkin, M.D., Katherine Lee, M.D., Louis Pacillio, M.D., Thomas Quinn, M.D., Robert Rechtschaffen, M.D., Henry Rosenberg, M.D., Deborah Smith, M.D., Geoffrey Zucker, M.D., 20 years.
• Board of Trustees leadership for 2004 includes Ruth Constantine, chair; Thomas P. Caine, vice chair; Matthew M. Pitoniak, treasurer; Kurt M. Hertzfeld, assistant treasurer; Edith Peter, assistant treasurer; Judith Kundl, secretary; and Craig N. Melin, assistant secretary.
• Board of Trustees membership for 2004 includes Donald Abel, M.D.; Doris M. Armstrong, RN, M.Ed.; Catherine E. Bartlett, M.D.; Eric N. Berkowitz; Eileen T. Breslin, RN, BSN; Thomas P. Caine; Ruth Constantine; Edward D. Etheredge; Alfred L. Griggs; Kurt M. Hertzfeld; Hazel Robinson; Judith Kundl; John Kuhn; Andrew Mackey, M.D.; Phyllis Maggiolino; Craig N. Melin; Matthew M. Pitoniak; Nancy Reeves; Peter Siersma, M.D.; Shelley Steuer; and James W. Varnum.