NMC’s Primary Care practice, like others in our region and state, has suffered from the national shortage of providers. NMC has also recently been short-staffed with some providers out on leave. At the same time, we have been working through the transition to our new Electronic Medical Record, an aspect of which affects patient scheduling. These three factors have impacted how quickly you have been able to access primary care services in the recent past. We understand that these are our issues and shouldn’t be yours, and we apologize for that. Fortunately, there is good news.
The new Electronic Medical Record brings us to a single, unified record easily accessible to all providers, which will improve the continuity of patient care. This is a key strategic project for us, and we continue the work of integrating the new system and fully optimize the record. To give you a sense of the scope of the project, more than 14 million documents needed to be transitioned to the new system! During the transition, it was necessary for us to decrease the number of patients we saw per day. As we make progress, our volumes are returning to normal levels.
Additional good news is that we have added new providers and have even more joining us soon. Dr. Cecilia Disney started this summer, and Family Nurse Practitioner Mary Alice Watts started in October. We will also have a temporary Nurse Practitioner join us in mid-November, and our staff who are out on medical leave will return soon as well. These additions will bring us back to our former levels of staffing, and we continue to recruit. The need for Primary Care in our community and across northern Vermont is great and we remain committed to addressing the access issue.