Registration open for the 22nd annual Rally for the Cure

GORHAM — The Rally for the Cure committee at the Androscoggin Valley Country Club is hosting the 22nd annual Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament on Friday, Aug. 4.

This fundraiser is committed to help support the Susan G Komen New England affiliate working to increase awareness of breast health and screening, help with funding mammograms and assist in transportation. The program also helps with food and emergency support for breast cancer patients, research and more.

Those who wish to play or make a contribution should contact Lise King, ambassador, at (603) 723-2821 or Gary Riff, Androscoggin Valley Country Club, at (603) 466-9468. 

Androscoggin Valley Hospital Adds Telemedicine Service for Emergency Department Patients

Androscoggin Valley Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Connected Care are collaborating to launch a new telemedicine service for AVH Emergency Department patients needing consultation and treatment.

The partnership brings together Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s specialists and Androscoggin Valley Hospital’s acute care team via a program which provides 24/7 access to highly qualified off-site physicians who offer emergency evaluations, recommendations for relevant therapies or interventions, facilitation of transfer when necessary, and efficient customer service for both patients and families.

“We are thrilled to join a tremendous bedside team at AVH and help the providers, staff, and, most importantly, patients, in whatever manner needed,” stated Kevin M. Curtis, MD, MS, medical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Connected Care.

When activated, this telemedicine program can provide immediate support to Androscoggin Valley Hospital’s local care team by connecting highly skilled clinicians to the patient's bedside via live, two-way secure video on large format, high-definition mobile carts. The connection allows the off-site provider to review vital signs, examine test results, review the medical chart, examine the patient, and interact with providers and family at the patient’s bedside.

Keith M. Shute, MD, MMM, AVH chief medical officer/senior vice president, explained, “We are very excited to bring this technology to Androscoggin Valley Hospital. By engaging with this new form of telemedicine, response times for patient care are shortened, allowing the medical staff to improve patient safety. The off-site assistance can aid in providing diagnosis and treatment within minutes. This added wealth of knowledge and expertise can and has had a great impact in producing positive patient outcomes. This system will allow us to continue to provide high quality patient care right in our community.”

Androscoggin Valley Hospital’s Emergency Department typically sees approximately 8,900 patients each year.

For more information about this service, call Susan Letendre, RN, AVH director, emergency department, at (603) 326-5713 or visit Androscoggin Valley Hospital on the web at


2017 Memorial Hospital Open Golf Tournament to benefit Let's Go Childhood Wellness Program

NORTH CONWAY — Celebrating 37 years of supporting community health, the Memorial Hospital Open Golf Tournament will take place on Thursday, July 20, at the Wentworth Golf Course in Jackson. Proceeds from this year’s golf tournament will once again support "Let's Go," an initiative to bring health and wellness education and activities to school-aged children throughout Mount Washington Valley.

In 2016, with the support of donors, sponsors and golfers, the Let's Go program was able to expand to 12 sites around the community such as pre-schools and daycare centers, to help them work towards receiving official Let’s Go program certification. Let’s Go is an evidence based program that works to reduce childhood obesity through better nutrition, more exercise and less screen time.

President and CEO Scott McKinnon shared why community support of Let's Go is so critical: "This program and others like it are really part of our mission now. It's true that it will always be important for Memorial Hospital to take care of the sick, but we also have a responsibility to keep our community healthy. Let's Go is just one program we've launched in the last few years. We are proud to be a part of it."

Last year, the event raised over $52,000, which supported the program. The event has raised over $850,000 over its long history, purchasing many pieces of life saving equipment and supporting community health programs.

In 2016, Let's Go focused on sustainable practices to improve student health, including yoga instruction for teachers at local schools, healthy cooking classes with kids and their parents to take good nutrition knowledge from classroom to home, plus Memorial's annual Fun Run at Story Land.

According to a press release from Memorial Hospital, the results are impressive. At Let's Go sites' school, child care and after school programs, almost 2,000 students were impacted by the program. Schools and sites are limiting unhealthy choices for snacks and celebrations, eliminating sugary beverages and limiting recreational screen time.

The tournament has already secured its presenting sponsor, with Alvin J. Coleman & Son, Inc. taking top billing for the 2017 event. Other sponsorship opportunities are available for local businesses and individuals. Many sponsorship packages also include golf teams for the event. For those wishing to play in the tournament, golfers may join the event as individuals or in teams of four.

The tournament offers one exclusive afternoon flight with play limited to 128 players. Sponsors and golfers are encouraged to sign up early as the tournament sold out last year and is expected to do it again in 2017.

For more information, or to sign up for golf or sponsorship, visit the golf event page online at or call Melody Nester at (603) 356-5461 ext. 2264 for more information.

Memorial GolfDon and Brett Newton enjoying the day at the 2016 Memorial Hospital Open Golf Tournament. This year's event is set for Thursday, July 20. (COURTESY PHOTO)


New Hampshire Fallen Heroes of Vietnam Moving Wall is coming to the White River Junction

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. — White River Junction VA Medical Center will have the New Hampshire Fallen Heroes Moving Wall on display from June 21 to June 23. This memorial is to honor the 228 New Hampshire Servicemen who had lost their lives in Vietnam. The wall is made possible by the New Hampshire State Organization Daughters of American Revolution. There will be an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday, June 21, at 9 a.m. in the Building 1 Main Lobby. The Medical Center Director, Alfred Montoya will open the ceremony and recognize the Vietnam Veterans present.

Everyone is welcome to attend this event and to pay their respects to the fallen heroes.

For information concerning this and any other VA announcement, contact Katherine Tang at the White River Junction VA Medical Center Public Affairs Office, at (802) 295-9363 X5880, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Thomas Blonski: New Hampshire's fragile long-term care system is in crisis

Catholic Charities New Hampshire operates seven nursing homes, from Windham to as far north as Berlin. We are capable of serving 471 residents. In providing care, we work to be as efficient as possible, to maintain the high quality required by exacting federal standards, and do right by our caregivers and staff. The latter has become increasingly impossible under the current state Medicaid reimbursement system.
Caring for Medicaid recipients in the long-term care-arena in New Hampshire is bringing with it losses that cannot be sustained, even for non-profits with charitable missions, like Catholic Charities. New Hampshire currently has the nation’s third worst gap between state Medicaid payments and the costs nursing homes incur in providing care; the proposed state budget would actually freeze that funding for two more years.
With any nursing home, wages constitute most of the costs of providing Medicaid care. For our 120-bed Mt. Carmel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester, for example, the state’s calculations assume that 54 percent of our costs will be in direct patient care and therapy — the cost component for caregiver wages — while another 20 percent will be in the support cost component that covers wages for dietary and housekeeping staff.
Even if wages were the only costs we had, the state’s payment rate, by itself, would fall short of covering them. The state appropriation only covers 63 percent of Mt. Carmel’s overall Medicaid care costs. Thanks to a budget artifice by which the state produces a rate that is far below the facility’s costs, and another additional cut in the rate (euphemistically called a “budget neutrality factor”), the state avoids paying an additional 27.3 percent of the costs beyond that. That leaves a payment deficit for Mt. Carmel of over $2 million a year.
A portion of this payment gap for each nursing home is lowered by federal matching funds that are produced by a fee the facilities themselves pay (the state contributes nothing to this). Yet even after these federal funds come in, this still leaves a huge deficit — more than $700,000 for Mt. Carmel alone. I can think of no better way to characterize the incredible extreme that this Medicaid funding crisis has reached than to say that, in effect, we are now providing charity to the state itself.
Our continued revenue shortfall is making it impossible for facilities to recruit, and retain caregivers. Already there are facilities turning away prospective residents simply because they cannot staff adequately, and safely, for beds that they have available. It is increasingly common for fast food restaurants and other retailers to pay more than the wages the state is willing to support for licensed nursing assistants, who must undertake 100 hours of education before working.
Shouldn’t it be possible in our state, with the nation’s second-oldest population, for long-term care workers to find adequate compensation in caring for our most vulnerable? Shouldn’t we want them to be able to make a career out of serving the elderly and those with disabilities?
The Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of charitable services in New Hampshire. The mission of Catholic Charities is to respond “to those in need with programs that heal, comfort and empower.” This Medicaid funding deficit is not only threatening the long-term care services offered by Catholic Charities, but is also requiring us to divert resources from other critical areas served by Catholic Charities. We implore the New Hampshire Legislature to resolve this crisis. Failure to do so is guaranteed to result in the closure of nursing homes and the forbidding prospect of the most frail and needy elderly in our state being displaced from these homes. As Pope Francis has said, “Where there is no honor to the elderly, there is no future for the young.”
Thomas E. Blonski is president and CEO of Catholic Charities New Hampshire.