Dr. Koehler Will Return to Vineyard Hospital

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital announced just before Christmas that it would welcome the return of Dr. Richard H. Koehler, a surgeon and specialist in laparoscopic surgery.

Dr. Koehler was a staff surgeon at the hospital from 1994 to 2002. His arrival on the Vineyard was hailed as a new era in medicine on the Island. Seven years later he severed his contract with the hospital amid outspoken criticism of the former hospital administration and its board of trustees. The chief executive officer and board have since changed.

From Personal to Phone Line, Hospital Interpreter Program Endures

One year after a program using a live interpreter was discontinued at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, patients and medical providers say the replacement system, which uses an electronic telephone program instead of a person, is meeting needs adequately, if not as personably.

Twelve months ago the hospital replaced its interpreter program with an AT&T telephone interpreter service.

Hospital to Purchase Inn to House Staff

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital announced this week that it will buy the Thorncroft Inn in Vineyard Haven to house traveling medical professionals, including doctors and nurses. “The hospital spends more than $800,000 per year in costs related to housing medical professionals who travel to the Island to provide necessary patient services at the hospital. Most of the costs for housing occur during the s ummer months,” the hospital said in a brief announcement about the purchase.

The purchase price is $2.35 million, including land, buildings and furniture.

New Hospital Oncology Program Will Begin Next Week

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital physicians and medical staffers met last Friday with leadership from the recently-announced Coordinated Cancer Care Program, a collaboration between MVH and Massachusetts General Hospital, to discuss details and goals of the new agreement, which increases oncological care access to Vineyarders by providing chemotherapy treatments on-Island. The program also includes Nantucket Cottage Hospital. The Coordinated Cancer Care Program was announced earlier this month, and began this week at the hospital.

Hospital Hires New Orthopedic Surgeon

With Dr. Rocco Monto’s impending relocation to Nantucket in May, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is taking immediate steps to expand orthopedic services on the Island, including emergency orthopedic services.

Dr. Mark Scheffer, an orthopedic surgeon at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Clinic in Concord, New Hampshire, will join the hospital staff this summer. He is expected to arrive in mid to late July, director of physician services Jay Ferriter told the Gazette on Wednesday.

Flu Outbreak Spreads; Hospital Hosts Free Vaccine Clinic

With a worsening early flu outbreak across the country causing a run on vaccines on the Island, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Island boards of health announced that they will hold a free clinic Sunday for Islanders seeking flu vaccinations. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hospital, Edgartown health agent Matthew Poole said. The clinic will be held in the physician's office building from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hospital, Edgartown health agent Matthew Poole said.

Veterans Secure Island Health Contract

The Providence VA Medical Center has awarded a contract to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to provide basic medical care for veterans, one of the last steps in restoring on-Island health care access for Vineyard veterans.

Veterans Inch Closer to Island Health Care Contract

With another step completed toward restoring on-Island health care access for veterans, members of the Providence VA hospital are planning an on-Island trip for early October for a town hall meeting with veterans and discussions with Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

This week came word that the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital had signed a new contract for veterans’ health care; the last remaining step is contract approval from the Providence VA Medical Center.

News Update: Wednesday, August 22 - Health Care Contract for Veterans Near

A new contract between the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the Veterans Administration to allow on-Island health care for veterans is under final review, the Chilmark selectmen learned on Tuesday night.

Vineyard veterans have had no access to primary care on the Vineyard since a previous contract expired several years ago.

In a letter sent to the Chilmark selectmen on August 15 Vincent Ng, the director of the Providence Medical Center where many Island veterans have had to travel for care, reported the good news.

Health Care Checkup: Access to Primary Care Improving

Islanders seem to voice the complaint nearly as often as they grumble about summer traffic backups at the blinker light and spiking prices at the gas pump:

You can’t find a primary care doctor on the Island.