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Strategic Initiatives and Public Participation

NVRH Strategic Initiatives and Process for Public Participation

Summary of the hospital’s strategic planning and decision-making process.

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital achieves openness, inclusiveness, and public participation in our strategic planning and decision making in a variety of ongoing and deliberate ways.

NVRH governance structure includes the Northeastern Vermont Regional Corp. (NVRC) Corporators. The over 250 Corporators, representing all the towns in our service area, are an invaluable source of wisdom and perspective for hospital leadership. They are key links in the essential communication system between members of our community and the hospital.

Because the Corporators represent the community, they act as our eyes and ears on the street. The quarterly Corporators meetings are an opportunity for two-way sharing of information. The Corporators share their needs and concerns, as well as the needs and concerns of their families, friends, and neighbors. In return, the Corporators are updated on hospital services, as well as state and national healthcare issues.

NVRH asks for direct community feedback on services at focus forums and quarterly Corporators meetings held at the hospital. Corporators tell us that local access to care and services is a priority. They expect and appreciate the convenience of having primary care, specialty care, diagnostic testing, and inpatient services close to home.

NVRH also occasionally holds open public forums, including our annual Hospital Report Card public meeting, to encourage open dialog with members of the community. These meetings are typically not well attended, but those who come are always sincere in their commitment to improving the health of the community. Public meetings are advertised in the local daily newspaper the Caledonian Record, and the community calendars of weekly and monthly papers, as well as radio and public access TV.

Key NVRH staff, including Senior Management and Community Health Improvement staff, participate in numerous community needs planning efforts. NVRH staff participated in community needs activities coordinated by the Vermont Department of Health, Green Mountain United Way, and others.

Information and feedback gleaned from people in our community, along with health data from the Vermont Department of Health, census data, comparative data from Vermont Explor (VAHHS), the Dartmouth Atlas, satisfaction and quality data from IHI projects, Press Ganey patient satisfaction data, and our own utilization data, help us to plan for services to meet the needs of the people in our community.

NVRH reviews and updates a one year and five year strategic plan annually. The Strategic Plan Summary highlights six areas: Quality, Finance, People, Community, Information, Programs/Services/Growth. For copies of the NVRH Strategic Plan Summary, to learn how to become a Corporator at NVRH, or to give us your input on the healthcare needs in our community, contact:

Paul Bengtson, CEO
802-748-7398 (fax)
PO Box 905
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

For information about our one and four-year capital expenditure plan and a depreciation schedule for existing facilities, contact:

Bob Hersey, CFO
802-748-7398 (fax)

Current Initiatives to Meet the Healthcare Needs of the NVRH Communities

NVRH Community Health Fund

The NVRH Community Health Fund insures consistent and continuous funding for community health programs and services, and confirms the hospital’s ongoing commitment to community health improvement.

The NVRH strategy for community supports a community building approach that goes beyond delivery of medical care to improving health and the quality of life for people in the communities we serve.  Community building involves addressing the root cause of health problems such as poverty related issues i.e. lack of insurance, transportation, and housing, as well as identifying and providing services and programs that directly influence health and quality of life.

NVRH awards grants for programs and services that address three health priority areas: obesity, poverty, and mental health or substance abuse. The three health priority areas were determined by a community health needs assessment done by the hospital in 2012.

Program: Winter Wellness Program
Organization: Danville School
Amount: $1500.00
Description: The mission of this program is to provide all students at the Danville School with equal opportunity to experience winter sports and promote healthy lifestyles.   Activity choices include ice skating, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, gymnastics, and alpine skiing.  The Danville Winter Wellness Program partners with Burke Mountain, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Fenton Chester Arena, Lyndon State College, and Kingdom Gymnastics,
Program:  Program for a Healthy Lifestyle
Organization: Kingdom Recovery Center
Amount: $1450.00
Description: This program addresses the need for people in recovery and their families to enhance their emotional, physical, spiritual, and social well-being.  Activities include small group classes in food preparation and cooking healthy on a budget; developing mindfulness and physical exercise activities facilitated by using streaming videos and a “smart” TV; tobacco cessation programing; and creation of a community garden.
Program:  NEK Early Childhood Conference
Organization: Kingdom Child Care Connection at Umbrella, Inc.  
Amount: $500.00
Description:  This project will hire an expert to provide professional development for child care providers on the importance of outdoor play and physical activity
Program:  Girls on the Run©
Organization: St. Johnsbury School
Amount: $2900.00
Description: Girls on the Run© is a non-profit program that encourages girls in 3rd to 8th grade to develop self-respect, confidence and a healthy lifestyle through a fun, interactive curriculum and fitness training activities. This twelve week, 24-lesson program fosters girls’ physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being, culminating in a wonderfully uplifting 5k Run/Walk in which everyone is #1! 
Program:  After School Swim Program
Organization: St. Johnsbury School
Amount: $3791.00
Description:   Partnering with St Johnsbury Academy, this program will provide swim sessions for children in the St. Johnsbury School and monthly family swim nights.
Preventing Obesity by Reducing Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages
In 2012 NVRH conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment. Obesity was identified as one of the top three health priorities for the hospital service area. In Vermont, like the rest of the United States, obesity is a leading cause of both chronic health conditions and the rising cost of health care.

Although not the only factor, research has confirmed that sugar-sweetened beverages are a significant contributor to the obesity problem. Additionally, studies have shown there are clear and simple reasons people consume sugar-sweetened beverages: taste (they taste good), access (they are readily available), and price (they are inexpensive to buy).

Social marketing is a proven strategy that uses behavior theories and commercial marketing techniques to improve health. Social marketers craft a marketing mix, often called the four P’s, of product, price, promotion, and place to positively affect the health of individuals and society as a whole. An effective marketing mix highlights the benefits and reduces the barriers of the "better" (healthier) choice for the consumer.

A Social Marketing Team made up of hospital employees and Vermont Department of Health staff conducted analytical research including a review of the literature, local focus groups, and used standard social marketing tools to outline a social marketing campaign to reduce obesity in the NVRH service area by reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

The social marketing campaign to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the NVRH service area follows the conventional stages of a social marketing campaign: analysis, strategy development, communication and program design, pretesting, implementation, and evaluation. The marketing mix for the No Added Sugar campaign includes messages spread through print and radio advertisements, posters, videos; and the distribution of water bottles and filtered water pitchers to reduce perceived barriers to drinking water as a healthy alternative beverage.

The target audience for the social marketing campaign is fathers with children 13 years of age and younger. Important factors contributing to this decision were:
 The literature review showed that parents are effective role models and have significant influence on the sugar-sweetened beverage consumption habits of their children
 The parent focus group revealed that parents have a good understanding (knowledge) that sugar-sweetened beverages are not healthy for their children, but some parents allow these beverages in the house and drink these beverages in the presence of their children
 The focus groups suggested that parents may be more motivated and "ready to change" their behavior around consumption than teens
Messages and campaign materials would be quite different for male (fathers) and female (mothers) parents, so only one should be selected. (Mothers may be the focus of a future campaign.)

The measurable objectives for the campaign include reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as measured every two years by the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey
and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey for adults, and the Healthy Vermont 2020 goals of reducing obesity among both Vermont children and adults.

 DART 2.0
The Drug Abuse Resistance Team (DART) was a grassroots movement dedicated to inspiring a compassionate response to community members who use and abuse alcohol and drugs.  DART 2.0 is a reenergized group striving to make a difference in prescription drug misuse and addiction.
  • To encourage all facets of our community to participate openly and honestly in dialogue regarding gaps in service and pathways to recovery.
  • To organize community action, including the participation of area agencies, churches, the medical and mental health providers, and others to secure adequate resources for the recovery of individuals and their families.
  • To influence policy makers to return to a public health model rather then the current model of punishment and criminalization.
  • To advocate for public policies and funding that supports local community independence and peer-led recovery.
  • To spread our message of a compassionate response to addiction and recovery to other communities around the state, sharing what works, and thus developing a network of compassionate action and community unity.
  • To hold public forums for the purpose of encouraging open dialogue among all sectors of the community.
  • To develop more and better educational, treatment, and recovery resources.
  • To utilize the media in order to spread DART 2.0 messages of compassionate, grass roots involvement in order to develop solutions on as state-wide level.
  • To meet with legislators, citizens, people in recovery, the medical providers, town and school officials and others to engage in the process of building a more caring community.
  • Prevention and Youth
  • Treatment and Recovery
  • Corrections and Justice
DART 2.0 meets the second Tuesday of the month; 6 - 8 p.m. North Congregational Church parlor, St. Johnsbury.  Light dinner served.