Medical Center adds physical therapy program

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 9:15am

In the formerly empty room where the meetings for the Block Island Health Services Board meetings are held, there is now an elliptical machine and a treadmill, among other pieces of equipment. They are the first symbols of a nascent, yet growing, physical therapy program at the Medical Center.

Dr. Mark Clark, in his monthly report to the Board, said the physical therapy program “has really taken off.” He said there are 64 patients in the PT program, many of whom make multiple visits in order to complete their therapies. “The beautiful thing is the results we’re getting,” said Clark.

The program did not have a hard time getting up and running, Clark said. Once the need was identified, “someone stepped up and said, ‘You need this, here’s some seed money — go!”

The number of patients now involved in the physical therapy program at the Medical Center was weaved into a discussion about how and which patient visits are recorded. Clark had earlier told the Board that the number of patients seen at the Medical Center in 2017 — which was 4,922 — was slightly down from the number seen in 2016 — which was 4,954, or a drop of 32 unique patient visits.

Clark characterized that as a positive, saying that despite the lower number, more patients were using the Center for their primary care.

Board member Pat Doyle, who is Chair of the Fundraising Committee, asked whether the physical therapy visits were included in that overall number, and Clark said they were not. Doyle saw the expanding programs and services as a positive story for the Center to tell as it continues its fundraising efforts. It was suggested that all visits to the Center be recorded, including visits for massage therapy, dental work, physical therapy, and mental health visits. Doyle said she was contemplating publishing a newsletter to keep the community informed about the changes taking place at the Center, and the services it provides.

Clark said he and the staff would be more than happy to provide content when the newsletter became a reality.

Doyle said she was also focused on refining the Board’s fundraising effort. She mentioned specifically the annual Fun Run, which takes an enormous amount of work and reaps about $4,000. She also mentioned that the Lights of Love campaign, which kicks off during the holiday season, had 138 donors who contributed, but those numbers have not been finalized yet. The Chair of the Membership Committee, Nancy Ruddle, said that last year 576 members of the Medical Center donated a total of $42,680, when the previous year more members — 656 — donated slightly less at $41,211.

When Treasurer Pete Tweedy mentioned just how important the Commitee’s fundraising efforts are to the health of the Center, Chair Cindy Baute said, “The donations have been incredible.”