Androscoggin Valley Hospital to Celebrate National Rural Health Day

BERLIN — Androscoggin Valley Hospital will join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and other state/national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov.16.

National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, state offices of rural health and others in addressing those issues. Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.

Approximately 62 million people — nearly one in five Americans — live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States.

“These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

These communities also face unique health-care needs.

“Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said.

“Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that make it challenging to serve their residents.”

State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a state office of rural health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, state offices of rural health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.

In Berlin, for example, Androscoggin Valley Hospital supports rural citizens through programs such as free health education lectures, health fairs and even informational speakers for area youth.

Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at To learn more about NOSORH, go to; to learn more about Androscoggin Valley Hospital, go to


NH Department of Health and Human Services launches prediabetes campaign

CONCORD — A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 84 million American adults have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose (sugar) levels are high, but not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes.

This November, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is supporting the efforts of the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association and the CDC, along with the Ad Council, to highlight the significance of prediabetes.

“We encourage people to talk with their health-care providers about their risk of diabetes and whether they need to be tested for abnormal blood sugar levels,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. “If abnormal blood sugar levels are caught early when they are still in the prediabetes stage, type 2 diabetes and related medical complications can be delayed or even prevented through lifestyle changes involving weight loss, diet change and increased physical activity.”

Up to 30 percent of adults with prediabetes will progress to Type 2 diabetes within five years. In New Hampshire, only about 6 percent of adults are aware they have prediabetes, but the CDC estimates that 34 percent of adults have the condition.

People with prediabetes are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Type 2 diabetes presents a significant threat to the Granite State, because of high health-care costs and potential negative impact on quality of life.

New Hampshire’s prediabetes campaign encourages people to take a short online test at and to speak with their health care providers about their individual risks. The website connects visitors to the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, proven to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes. Ads will be featured in local newspapers, movie theaters, shopping malls and city buses.

College nursing program's 2017 graduates earn 100 percent pass rate

White Mountains Community College’s Nursing Program 2017 Graduates Accomplish 100% Pass Rate on the NCLEX-RN Exam
WMCC credits high pass rate to revamped curriculum and robust clinical experiences

BERLIN — Every student from the latest graduating class from White Mountains Community College‘s associate of science in nursing program has passed the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse) exam.

The 20 students obtained a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the exam, which is required to obtain licensing as a registered nurse in New Hampshire and other states. WMCC recently received notice of the accomplishment from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing which administers and writes the computerized, comprehensive nursing exam.

“This accomplishment is a fundamental step for WMCC nursing program graduates in their health-care industry careers, and illustrates the hard work that they have put forth not only towards our revamped and rigorous curriculum, but also having all of them pass the NCLEX-RN exam on their first attempt,” said Emily MacDonald, MS, RN, professor and chair of White Mountains Community College’s nursing program, who is also a per diem labor and delivery nurse at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin. “We believe that our students’ successes are due in part to our initiative to refresh our program’s course offerings which place more emphasis on areas such as quality of care, patient safety and nursing outcomes in order to better align with the fast-paced, complex health-care arena and demands of the nursing profession.”

White Mountains Community College also credits the success of its students’ high NCLEX-RN pass rate to the college’s revised curriculum which offers students a comprehensive, hands-on learning environment from educators who are employed in their field of nursing.

In addition, the college expanded the program’s clinical sites and implemented a success seminar. During the two-year program, nursing students must complete the success seminar, which emphasizes tools such as time management skills, exam and course study support, professional ethics, conduct and responsibilities. In addition to the success seminar, WMCC partnered with Cottage Hospital in Haverhill, Littleton Regional Healthcare and Green Mountain Treatment Center in Effingham, to provide students with even more options to enrich their clinical experiences. During clinical hours, students gain further hands-on learning experiences, which are required in order to graduate from the nursing program.

“All of the professors in the nursing program made clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills a priority in both classroom and clinical settings,” said Jordan Neil, a 2017 WMCC nursing program graduate. “By having small classroom sizes, it allowed me and other students to get to know our professors on a personal level while our professors were able to see our individual strengths and areas where we could improve. I believe this allowed me to be a more successful student.”

Currently, WMCC has 56 students enrolled in the nursing program and anticipates 24 completing the program and receiving their associate of science in nursing degrees in 2018. More information on White Mountains Community College’s nursing program may be found at or by contacting Emily MacDonald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (603) 342-3028.


UCV Hospital completes renovations

UCVH new emergency wingUpper Connecticut Valley Hospital new emergency wing. (COURTESY PHOTO)

COLEBROOK — The Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital has received the last contribution specifically earmarked for its capital campaign, raising a total of $950,953 for enhancements to the emergency department and expanded rehabilitation and physician specialty services. In just over one year, this exceeds the initial campaign goal of $950,000.

This is Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital’s first capital campaign in 17 years, which rallied businesses, community members and employees alike to help support the more than 3,000 square feet of upgrades to the facility.

“We couldn’t be more excited to deliver on our promise of high quality health care to the people of Northern New Hampshire,” President Scott Colby said. “This capital campaign allowed us to more than double the size of the Emergency and Rehabilitation Departments, and allows us to serve more patients with advancements in medical technology, patient care practices and community outreach services.”

Through a major gift of $425,000 from Susan Nash and Nash Equipment, Inc., Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital was able to break-ground on the renovations in October of 2016, to ensure the project was completed within 12 months. Altogether, 160 donors contributed to the capital campaign, uniting the community around the pursuit of excellence in safety, quality, patient satisfaction, compassionate healthcare delivery, and much-needed infrastructure improvements. Employees and volunteers also supported the capital campaign through a Hospital Bed Race game.

“No amount was too small,” Patricia Vargas said. “Our Staff Capital Campaign is not about a dollar amount, it is about employees and volunteers being proud and supportive of the expansion and renovation of our hospital.”

An anonymous donor also offered a matching gift challenge of $25 for each employee contribution, resulting in strong participation of the hospital’s full-time, part-time, temporary, traveling staff and volunteers giving to the cause.

Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital is a 16-bed critical care hospital that has continued to serve Colebrook, Northern Coos County and neighboring communities in Maine and Vermont with trusted medical care for more than 40 years.


HNH Foundation steps in to fill void In Obamacare outreach

CONCORD — The Healthy New Hampshire Foundation made an emergency grant today of nearly $100,000 to fill the gap created as government funding for promoting the Affordable Care Act health insurance enrollment period has been slashed by 90 percent, and the open enrollment period cut from 12 to six weeks.

More than 50,000 Granite Staters enrolled in health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace last year.

One of the HNH Foundation’s leading priorities is to increase access to children’s health and dental coverage. Access to health insurance is essential for children to get the health care they need, most importantly preventative care.

“The Affordable Care Act has been hugely successful in increasing the number of New Hampshire residents with health insurance,” said HNH Board Chair Kathy Crompton.

“We were concerned that the cut in federal funds for promotion combined with the shorter enrollment period would put many people at risk of losing their insurance coverage, and we needed to do something quickly to address that,” Crompton said.

In an emergency session, the Foundation board voted to provide $96,000 to Granite State Progress Education Fund working with the New Hampshire Health Care Coalition to support statewide and targeted outreach efforts using paid advertising, publicity, print material distribution and outreach at public events to those previously enrolled in the ACA marketplace and currently uninsured.

The goal is to bolster and support outreach efforts currently underway and broaden the outreach campaign to regions of the state that are not covered by other efforts.

The N.H. Health Care Coalition will generate more awareness of the open enrollment period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 and drive consumers to opportunities for direct assistance to get enrolled. The group is coordinating with organizations such as Bi-State Primary Care, which has federal funding for the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers to help enroll eligible families.

“Our mission is to improve the health and wellness of our population, most importantly our most vulnerable children,” said HNH President Gail Garceau. “Children can’t sign up for their own health insurance. Parents have to know this opportunity is available and act on it for their children to have access to health care. It’s critically important.“

“We are thankful to the HNH Foundation for their support of this critical work, and we’re hitting the ground running to increase public awareness of the open enrollment period,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund.

Rice Hawkins added that access to health-care coverage allows families to go to the doctor when they are sick, and detect or address health problems before they become something more serious. She has assembled an extensive network of statewide advocacy and grassroots organizations working together on outreach.

“It is important for families to sign up by Dec. 15 to ensure they have this important health coverage. We encourage people who are interested in helping talk to their family, friends, and neighbors about enrolling in a health-care plan to contact our office and join the statewide outreach effort,” Rice Hawkins said.

The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period began Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15.