Community Forum: Porter Medical Center official expresses optimism

The future of Porter Medical Center has never been brighter.
That is a very broad, potentially provocative, statement — especially in light of all of the recent changes, challenges and difficult decisions our community has been hearing about. Nevertheless, it is a statement that is embraced by the Porter Medical Center Board of Directors, and one which we believe truly characterizes our board’s belief and commitment to the future of the organization.
It will not be an easy path — real change is never “easy.” However, ongoing transformation is what is needed, what is essential, if we are to continue to serve our community with the highest quality healthcare services possible for the present and future generations. We recognize there is a human element to this transformation. Porter deeply values all of its employees and has encouraged those affected to apply for open positions within our campus for continued employment.
I read an article last week in a board governance publication about the challenges of leading an organization to a stronger future when, by all outward appearances to the staff, community and patients, everything is “just fine” as it is today. Here is my favorite quote from that article:
“It’s relatively easy to win support to fix an organization that is clearly broken. When every observer knows the business is losing money, the customers are going elsewhere, and the staff is leaving to join competition, the company’s leadership has broad permission to make dramatic changes to ensure the organization’s ongoing viability and prosperity. But what should leaders do when the platform isn’t burning yet, and they know the fire is coming? How can visionary healthcare leaders transform their successful systems today so they can be successful tomorrow, too?” 
The current financial challenges, now being addressed by Porter, have been shared openly with the community in several local newspaper articles, on Middlebury Community Television, in community commentaries and letters to the editor. What is equally important to share with the community is that our board of directors has a deliberate, comprehensive process in place to address the current short-term challenges, while developing a long-range strategic plan that will sustain and support the mission and essential services provided by Porter Medical Center.
We are governing through challenging times, but with a clear vision for our future: “To improve the health of our community, one person at a time” and be the health care system of preferred choice for you, the people of Addison County. Those may just sound like admirable words — but with our mission and our values guiding us as we move forward with each difficult and complex decision, we are dedicated to providing high-quality patient-centered health care for our community, while stewarding the resources entrusted to us.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate this essential and complex path of transformation. We will continue communicating often with our community as we carry on with this important journey.

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