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Press Release July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

Chicago, IL – North Country Healthcare (NCH) has been selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the 2020 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. Modern Healthcare will publish a special supplement featuring a ranked list of all the winners along with the October 12 issue.

"It has been an especially trying year for the world, and healthcare in particular as COVID-19 ravages our communities and our workplaces," said Aurora Aguilar, Modern Healthcare's editor. "But the organizations recognized on this year's list rose to the top and continued to be a source of strength for their teammates. They have seen their colleagues fall ill to the virus and struggled with the economic impact of the pandemic. The loyalty and trust between employers and their workers is being put to the test now more than ever. We congratulate the Best Places to Work in Healthcare for continuing to serve their workforce and communities during such an unprecedented time."

“This recognition is only possible because of the dedicated, hardworking, and patient-focused providers, nurses, and staff of NCH,” commented Tom Mee, RN, BSN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer.  “Our team members are constantly focused on assuring consistent, high quality, accessible, and integrated healthcare across the communities we serve.”

North Country Healthcare is comprised of three critical access hospitals (Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, Weeks Medical Center) and North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency.  NCH was the only healthcare system in New England to be recognized.  

This award program identifies and recognizes outstanding employers in the healthcare industry nationwide. Modern Healthcare partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey.

North Country Healthcare’s specific ranking on the Best Places list will be revealed and celebrated at the 2020 Best Places to Work in Healthcare awards gala taking place virtually on October 8 in conjunction with the Workplace of the Future Conference. Information on the award celebration and conference is available at ModernHealthcare.com/WOTF.

For more information about North Country Healthcare, please visit northcountryhealth.org.

North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency Names Tiffany Haynes-Hicks Vice President of Operations

THH Headshot

 

May 28, 2020; Littleton, NH – North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency (NCHHHA) Board of Directors and President, Michael Counter, are pleased to announce the appointment of Tiffany Haynes-Hicks, MSN, as Vice President of Operations.

“Tiffany has served as our Director of Hospice for the last three years and has continued to deepen the relationship between our Home Health and Hospice programs,” explained Michael Counter, NCHHHA President and CEO. “Her intuitive operational skills combined with her analytical nursing skills make her a perfect candidate for this position.” 

North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency is a partner of North Country Healthcare and provides home health, hospice and palliative care to residents in Coos and Northern Grafton Counties. The newly created, Vice President of Operations position will be responsible for oversight of the organization’s eighty employees, strategic financial goals, streamlining of operational efficiencies and education of services. 

Roxie Severance, NCHHHA Board President, stated that the board felt this was a natural progression for the organization and that the position will complement the strengths and leadership provided by Mr. Counter. “Mike and Tiffany are an amazing team, each offering a unique skillset of leadership qualities. This position will give Tiffany the opportunity to learn from Mike’s strategic planning expertise and financial prowess.”

Haynes-Hicks received her Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Health Care Administration in 2012 from Norwich University and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Anselm’s University in 2007. She also received her National Hospice & Palliative Care Certificate (CHPN) in 2018.

Tiffany has a broad scope of clinical practice with experience in a multitude of specialty areas in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She has held many leadership roles including Clinical Supervisor, Charge Nurse, Educational Preceptor, Chair of Shared Governance and Infection Prevention Team Champion.

Tiffany has deep North Country roots.  Born and raised in Stratford, NH, she was a 2003 graduate of Stratford Public School. Haynes-Hicks now lives in Lisbon, NH with her husband McCullan, and their three children, Henry, Mia and Madelyn. “I am proud to be from the North Country and look forward to enhancing the (NCHHHA) commitment to our communities in their time of need.  Nursing in the home is the truest form care – Home is where the heart is!” She also shared her enthusiasm for this position by explaining, “I am excited for the opportunity to work across our Agency’s services.  We have such a fantastic team.  I anticipate this role will help me foster my relationships with the staff and gain a better understanding of our business model.”  

To learn more about North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency please visit www.NCHHHA.org or call (603) 444-5317.

 

 

 

 

North Country Healthcare Affiliates to Re-Establish Services

Northern NH – Consistent with the New Hampshire Governor’s Re-Opening Task Force and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, North Country Healthcare affiliates have begun preparations for a phased-in return of a number of services.

Over the past several weeks, many health services have remained available to provide care in multiple formats (including telehealth).  However, beginning May 11, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, and Weeks Medical Center will resume a number of procedures and offerings, previously suspended due to COVID-19 concerns.  The implementation timeframe of each care phase will be dependent on maintaining an appropriate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff resources while monitoring patient volume and hospitalizations.

Phase 1 will include a return to time-sensitive surgical procedures at facilities where they have historically been performed.  Outpatient clinic appointments (including for many specialties) previously suspended will also slowly return.  During this phase:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC), State and Federal guidelines will be monitored and followed
  • Staff will continue to be screened daily before beginning work (including temperature)
  • Reminder calls for appointments will be conducted for new patients to assess risks/concerns of COVID-19. Questions regarding patient symptoms, recent travel, contact with any individuals infected or potentially infected, will be asked.
  • Patients will be screened at their vehicle, as able or at the facility entrance at the time of arrival. Questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms (fever, chills, body aches, loss of taste/smell, etc.) will be asked.
  • Handwashing/hand sanitizing of patients and staff will continue to be emphasized upon arrival and discharge. Hand sanitizer will be available at facility entrances.
  • Exam rooms and equipment will be sanitized after patient visits
  • Lobbies will be appropriately cleaned regularly
  • Social distancing will be promoted by signs and markers within member hospitals
  • No waiting area will be open, unless absolutely necessary. Appropriate cleaning will continue to occur.
  • Patient appointments will be staggered to reduce patient interaction
  • Patients will be brought to the exam room immediately, as able
  • No paperwork will be completed at the reception desk unless it is determined to be necessary
  • Use of the affiliate’s Patient Portal will be encouraged
  • Appropriate COVID-19 testing will continue to be conducted, as supplies allow and CDC guidelines recommend
  • No visitors will be allowed at NCH hospitals, unless in rare exceptions (one support person for labor/delivery (Androscoggin Valley Hospital); a caregiver is necessary for care (all facilities); end-of-life care (all facilities)
  • Verbal and online communication will continue to keep patients, providers and staff updated with changes
  • Time-sensitive procedures for patients with pain, will resume on a staggered schedule, ensuring surgical patients do not recover in the same area at the same time
  • Masks will be worn by all patients, providers, nurses and staff
  • Pre-registration and verbal consents will be encouraged, to minimize unnecessary in-person interactions.
  • Departmental reception desks including registration will have floor markings at six-foot intervals to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Home health and hospice services through North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency will be available for patients who are at high-risk and who continue to shelter in place. Services including COVID-19 testing, as appropriate, can be administered in a patient’s home.

 

All NCH affiliates monitor and frequently communicate their supply of PPE.  It is important to note that should the supply unexpectedly be of concern, the next phase in the re-establishment of services will be delayed, to best ensure the safety of our patients, providers, and staff.

Additional messaging regarding future phases of services at our facilities will be communicated in advance of their implementation.

“North Country Healthcare hospitals and North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency providers, nurses and staff have contributed significant time and research into the careful development of our phased-in approach to resuming services for patients in our communities,” commented Tom Mee, RN, BSN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, North Country Healthcare.  “We are committed to re-establishing a number of care offerings in a manner that is safe for everyone within our facilities and within their homes.”

The Emergency Departments of all NCH hospitals remain open and ready to treat medical emergencies.  However, please call your primary care provider if you are exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (in extreme cases, visit an Emergency Department or call 9-1-1 immediately)
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you experience the above symptoms, but don’t have a primary care provider, please call 2-1-1.  If you are a patient of Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, please call 388-4259.  If you are a patient of Weeks Medical Center, please call 788-5656.

Please note that visitor restrictions to our hospitals (including Cafeterias) and off-site clinics remain in-place.

As this phased approach begins, it remains important to continue to take these preventive measures:     

  • wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • avoid contact with sick people;
  • stay away from large crowds as much as possible.

For updated information about COVID-19 and North Country Healthcare’s initiatives, please visit northcountryhealth.org

Outpatient Service Changes at NCH Hospitals

In our ongoing abundance of caution, North Country Healthcare has restricted visitors to all our facilities, and effective Tuesday, March 24, will temporarily suspended outpatient specialty services.  Wherever possible, we will make every effort to utilize technology to provide services between a patient's home and the respective healthcare provider.  We will contact patients for whom this option will exist. 

In addition, all routine laboratory tests, screening mammography, bone density, routine ultrasound, routine stress tests, pulmonary function tests, and Physical and Occupational Therapy within our hospitals have been postponed until the current public health crisis has been lifted. 

If you have any questions about emergent laboratory testing for therapeutic reasons, please contact your ordering healthcare provider to ensure that your need can be met. Some of our provider practices have the ability to draw blood and send it for testing.

Recognizing the pandemic of COVID-19, we are taking every measure possible to best ensure the health and well-being of our patients, providers, nurses and staff.  We are dedicated to serving our communities and appreciate your ongoing trust, patience and understanding.