Bennington Lions Club Officers inducted by district governor elect

BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Lions Club Officers for 2014/2015 were inducted by District Governor Ken Emery, from Colchester, at the Club's June Dinner Meeting.

The Bennington Lions serve the communities of Bennington, Pownal and Woodford and this past Lions year, 75 residents received assistance with the examination and purchase of glasses or hearing aids.

The Bennington Lions also support the Vermont Lions Hearing Camp, Vermont Lions Charities and Dollars for Scholars.

For information on how you can join in the work of the Bennington Lions or if you would like to apply for assistance with glasses or hearing aids, please contact the Bennington Lions by mail at P.O.Box 491 in Bennington or by email at benningtonlions@gmail.com.

Telemedicine connects Bennington patients to Dartmouth-Hitchbock Rheumatologist

BENNINGTON -- "The doctor will see you now" has a whole new meaning in Bennington. Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is now offering a high-tech telemedicine program that allows patients to be seen by Dartmouth-Hitchcock specialists without having to drive two hours to Lebanon, N.H.

Thanks to a partnership with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth, several SVMC rheumatology patients are now receiving care via telemedicine, using real-time video for their medical appointments.


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During the inaugural round of virtual appointments in late June, Dartmouth-Hitchcock rheumatologist Daniel Albert, MD, had video consults with more than a dozen SVMC patients.

For patients whose conditions are more complex, Albert makes twice-monthly visits to SVMC to see patients in person. He is scheduled to see patients at SVMC on July 7 and then will be conducting telemedicine consults from Lebanon on July 8.

"I think this hybrid model of me going to Bennington intermittently and doing telemedicine intermittently is absolutely the right model," says Albert.

As they do for any medical appointment, patients arrive at SVMC and are shown to an examination room. Using a special medical cart equipped with a camera and a video screen, a SVMC staff member then connects the patient to Albert at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon.

He examines patients with the assistance of a nurse, who uses high-tech diagnostic devices to scan certain areas on the patient. Albert is then able to review the video images live on his computer.

"What we're learning so far from our telemedicine patients in Bennington is that probably 80 percent of them can be seen in this way to manage their disease," says Albert. "During their telemedicine visits, some patients will get labs, some will get x-rays, and some patients will be prescribed meds. It runs the gamut of what we do in person. Exactly the same options are available to them as a telemedicine patient as an in-person patient."

The partnership with Albert and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth arose, in part, because of the retirement of Dr. Brian Cunningham earlier in 2014 and the difficulty in recruiting a rheumatologist to a rural area, says Dr. Trey Dobson, SVMC's chief medical officer. "We have a significant population needing these services," says Dobson, "and our goal is to provide patients access to Dartmouth-Hitchcock experts here locally. Telemedicine and our close relationship with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth enable us to do that. Now patients who were faced with traveling out-of-state for care can stay local and receive the high-level of care they've always gotten at SVMC."

"We're thrilled to partner with SVMC and to be a part of the excellent care they provide in the region," says Sarah Pletcher, MD, the director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth.

"As patients around the country are discovering, telemedicine is a convenient and cost-effective way for them to connect with specialists."

"We're excited about exploring future telemedicine initiatives with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth," Dobson added. "This is just a small step in an initiative with significant potential to provide the community with needed services."